About buddhism and Christianity, I was thinking about their moral values. Which when it comes to what to do in this life, is the central bit. That's the instructions it all comes down to.
"You told me to rot in hell Jesper - you're a hypocrite as well as a racist deluded fantasist. Gosh, wouldn't you be such a catch for any church...."
Yes, when you tried to poison someone's good relationship with Christianity. I would say you deserved it, in full. Hmm, about being rascist, that would entail me picking on the Jewish people in particular. How can you explain what I said here, then?
"It is not a condemnation of Jews, it is a general human phenomenon. It happens to everyone, also to you. And your friends, your parents and siblings, spouse, children, etc. And to everyone around you."
I fail to see the connection you make between me and rascism. Can you explain it a bit better, in light of the statement above?
*** "George Soros is the son of the Esperanto writer Teodoro Schwartz. Teodoro (also known as Tivadar) was a Hungarian Jew, who was a prisoner of war during and after World War I and eventually escaped from Russia to rejoin his family in Budapest.
The family changed its name in 1936 from Schwartz to Soros, in response to growing anti-semitism with the rise of Fascism. Tivadar liked the new name because it is a palindrome and because it has a meaning. Though the specific meaning is left unstated in Kaufmann's biography, in Hungarian "soros" means "next in line, or designated successor", and in Esperanto it means "will soar". His son George was taught to speak Esperanto from birth and thus is one of the rare native Esperanto speakers. George Soros later said that he "grew up in a Jewish home," and that his parents were "cautious with their religious roots." However, Soros's father was proud of his Jewish roots (which can be seen in his memoir on his experiences during the holocaust, Masquerade)." ***
What Esparanto is, wikipedia:
*** "Esperanto (help·info) is by far the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language in the world. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. The word esperanto means 'one who hopes' in the language itself. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.
Esperanto has had continuous usage by a community estimated at between 100,000 and 2 million speakers for over a century. By most estimates, there are approximately one thousand native speakers. However, no country has adopted the language officially. Today, Esperanto is employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television, and radio broadcasting. There is an Esperanto Wikipedia, with over 100 thousand articles as at June, 2008.
There is evidence that learning Esperanto may provide a good foundation for learning languages in general. Some state education systems offer basic instruction and elective courses in Esperanto. Esperanto is also the language of instruction in one university, the Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj in San Marino." ***
So we see that he comes from a family that is Jewish, and intensely interested in human rights, or the love of neighbour. And that this was perhaps intensified, the importance of this, as a result of his experiences during the Holocaust (and those of his father). In short, the inhumanity of it teaches how important it is to have a humanity, to people, in a direct way.
I don't see any evidence that his philanthropy has roots in atheism. Most likely, since his father was PROUD OF HIS _JEWISH_ ROOTS, his basic ethics were laid down in his home, and he simply stuck to them. As most kids do, the personality we take with us from our homes seem to stay with us, wherever we go. The values we have been given and which have been lived right in front of us. Doesn't developmental psychology say something about this, how the first two or three years are the most important? Or is it the first four?
Find me an atheist who grew up in a purely atheistic family, and which deliberately excluded all religious items, books and worship from their lives, and you will have a case.
Also, nice try. But you do know that I check wikipedia.
On a note, if you look at the Hollywood celebrities that are the _most likable_, you will find that most of them in fact come from religious homes. Can you name me one intensely succesful and likable Hollywood star, who comes from an atheistic home, and who is a 'devout' atheist? But at the same time, an active philanthropist?
Anyway, I am not doing this to humiliate or such, but merely to show, that strong ethics usually are rooted in a very religious home. And that it is a good place to look for ethics, if one finds them lacking. I am sure you agree that Sir Myles was a very likable chap, not a monster at all, despite him being .. 'Jewish'. He was the nicest person in here, perhaps. Oddly enough, he came from religious roots, not atheistic. Don't you start to see the larger picture? Atheist are moral, sure, to some extent. But religious people, the ones' you have actually talked to, seem to be even more moral, no? Atheists tend to be belittling, intolerant of others view and wish to 'shoot them to pieces', I find that I enjoyed reading Sir Myles' posts more than any of the atheists here. And if he ever wrote a book, I am sure I would prefer to read it to what Dawkins has written. Simply because he is far more cordial. Which is worth something, in itself. Imo.
What do you think?
ps. Might his atheism not have something to do with persecution of Jews? I would se an immediate and big connection there. He was _scared_ of being outwardly Jewish (with the Holocaust, who _wouldn't_), so the same way he changed his name, he also started calling himself an atheist? I certainly would, if the Nazis came knocking at my door, looking for any 'filthy Christians'. Knowing what they did, I think, so would you.
". Soros does not consider himself religious, and has stated that he does not believein God."
There you go he is an atheist and a humanitarian. His fathers grandfathers for fairy godmothers beliefs are irrelevant, maybe it was his none belief that pushed him toward being so charitable.
" Find me an atheist who grew up in a purely atheistic family, and which deliberately excluded all religious items, books and worship from their lives, and you will have a case."
Lol. But religious belief is a lame duck argument here you can't know what inspired people like Soros or Gates to give as much as they have. It is just as plausible that there non belief inspired them, as no God could help if it didn't exist, therefore they took the mantle on themselves.
"So we see that he comes from a family that is Jewish, and intensely interested in human rights, or the love of neighbour."
I come from an intensely Atheist family which is heavily concerned about Human rights so what does that prove.
"ps. Might his atheism not have something to do with persecution of Jews? I would se an immediate and big connection there"
I find that a deeply offensive and unfounded claim. It is not uncommon knowledge that the Nazi hatred of Judaism was inspired through social and media fueled propaganda, some one needed to be blamed for the loss of the first world war, the Jews made a fitting scapegoat. It was also interestingly inspired from Martin Luther a deeply religious man, who was also a staunch anti-Semite, though to his credit he was a ferocious thorn in the side of Leo X. And what a character old Leo was he was the youngest cardinal ever. Given a Red Hat for his thirteenth birthday he became pope when he was 38. It is recorded that as the triple tiara hit his head, Pope Leo X turned to his illegitimate cousin, Giulio de' Medici, and exclaimed,
"Now I can really enjoy myself".
And he did!
Leo took papal greed to new heights that trivialise the worst excesses of the 1980's. Instead of giving everything up for Christ, Leo grabbed everything he could, in Christ's name. History records the following:
* Leo had 683 courtiers on his payroll, an orchestra, a theatre and a menagerie of wild animals including a White Elephant that would bow to Leo three times. * Leo gave Bacchanalian banquets of 65 courses featuring such delicacies as peacock' tongues, nightingales flying out of pies and naked boys jumping out of puddings. * Defying canon law, Leo planned hunting trips for weeks on end. * His Roman brothels, with 7,000 registered prostitutes in a population of 50,000 still didn't bring in enough income for Pope Leo. * He was a gambler and big spender borrowing vast sums from bankers at 40% interest. * Although simony - the buying and selling of sacred things - was a crime, Leo invented 2,150 papal offices and positions and auctioned them off. Cardinal's Red Hats went for around 30,000 ducats. And so on.
The 'St Peters' Property Development Scam In recent years we have seen some rogue property developers and how they have created scams to rip off people and take their savings. But this was nothing compared to the avarice of Pope Leo. It was Leo's ultimate act of obscene greed and blasphemy that finally pushed Luther into action. In 1517 Pope Leo X, in cahoots with Prince Albert Hohenzollern, pulled a major scam on the long-suffering German people.
Leo offered to sell Albert the See of Mainz and the Primacy of Germany for 30,000 ducats. But, since Albert didn't have the money they conspired to raise the cash by selling indulgences to the German people saying the money was going into a property development and building fund for St Peter's in Rome.
And this guy was Pope from a Catholic background, and did I mention he was Pope, a true icon of all that is Moral and good eh?
Don't get me wrong whilst Catholicism isn't my favorite Religious practice, there are some Pope's I don't mind, John Paul II was a likable guy and a former actor to boot who had a certain charisma about him and his support of Solidarity was intrumental in helping his native Poland evolve towards democracy., His namesake John Paul I wanted to clean-up the Vatican bank for which some, like investigative journalist, David Yallop, say he was murdered.
But to say Religion = Morals is totally unfounded and incorrect. As I have shown even the people at the up most echelon are not impervious to man's flaws.
Yes, of course, much good is done by people in the Church and these efforts are a great contribution to society. However, this view ignores the fact that co-operation was one of nature's most effective survival strategies and evolved genetically many times in plants and animals millions of years before the Church was much more recently invented.
It's an interesting footnote that Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have given--so far--AUD$50 billion to the sick and the poor worldwide. This makes them the most generous couple in all of human history. Much of this money was generated as a result of the growth of the internet. Because people who buy PCs are not poor it means that this gift from the Gates' comes from 'the haves' and is being passed on to 'the have-nots'. Contrast this with the Vatican which has collected much of its vast wealth from the 'have nots'--selling 'salvation' to the poor--and yet it's a curious quirk of fact that the Gates family have now given more money to the sick and the poor than all of the 263 popes of history put together! They have inspired other wealthy people like Warren Buffet, to do the same.
Know I can hear you type "Melinda Gates was raised Catholic" but so were the Pope's why didn't they give more ? And isn't it just as plausible to say it was Bill's Atheism that influenced their giving? that shaped Melinda's mind set? of course it is.
i've been skim-reading the pages of comments on this thread, and am I actually correct in deducing that you are implying that the only moral authority is god, and that only through association with God - and people with morals learnt through Christianity -can morals be learnt.......
wiki: ". Soros does not consider himself religious, and has stated that he does not believein God."
luke: "There you go he is an atheist and a humanitarian. His fathers grandfathers for fairy godmothers beliefs are irrelevant, maybe it was his none belief that pushed him toward being so charitable."
You ignored vital information in my post. Soros himself, and his family, were persecuted _onto death_ for simply having Jewish beliefs, during the second world war. Are we clear on this? Don't you think that kind of treatment, experience of persecution - and who says he hasn't experienced it since, in the west even? - might cause him to clamp down and just say, I don't believe _even though he does_. Put another way, if the Gestapo showed up at your door and asked you, Are you Jewish - just what would _you_ say? And haven't Jews been villainized ever since, in fact, when have you last heard anyone say anything positive of the Jewish people, in the western media, apart from Jews themselves?
Did Dawkins have many kind words to spare for them? As an atheist, surely he should not want to persecute such a minority religion, I think there are some 10-15 million Jews in the world, as a whole, today.
If you had been persecuted that way, in the Holocast, would you be quick to jump out and say to everyone, Hey I'm a Jew and I believe in God!
It is only _human_ for him to publically denounce his Judaic roots. And he is free to do so.
How do you know he isn't only saying it? Given his circumstances, isn't it to be _EXPECTED_? Or is that an unreasonable way of looking at it, in your view? Given the Holocaust? Try and look for some pictures, or read how the Nazi doctors experimented on people of a Jewish background, and other minorities deemed genetically unfit to be a part of the Third Reich. Here are a few more:
Put another way. Suppose that the Vatican got full power over the world. And started persecuting atheists that way. I mean, taking you into the streets and shooting you. Deporting you to camps, to work and starve, and to be exterminated. Would that perhaps cause you to be quiet about you being an atheist?
Or would you proudly say, I am an atheist and take a bullet in the head, along with your entire family? Do you consider it _that_ important?
If you do, you're a fool, in my opinion. In _my_ opinion. And I think George Soros would feel the same.
No, not at all, not solely through God. There are other great moral traditions, Buddhism and Confucianism are two I know that are not directly based on the Abrahamic God, in fact, not at all. But I _do_ stress that the best people our societies have ever offered, usually have a _strong_ background in religion, come from a family with _strong_ religious beliefs, practices.
And that few come from purely secular, atheistic families. And, when it appears that they do, it turns out, when you dig into their history, that it is because they have a _spouse_ that is very religious (who really understands her/his religion), etc.
Atheism, as a pure system, does not teach morals. People are left to their whims. That's what I am saying.
"How do you know he isn't only saying it? Given his circumstances, isn't it to be _EXPECTED_? Or is that an unreasonable way of looking at it, in your view? Given the Holocaust? Try and look for some pictures, or read how the Nazi doctors experimented on people of a Jewish background, and other minorities deemed genetically unfit to be a part of the Third Reich."
Then why hasn't he come out after since Nazi Germany fell 60 yrs ago, and say "hey I do really believe in god just thought I'd pretend not to, in case old Adolf and his minions came back"? face it Jesper the man doesn't believe in god probably down to the horrific persecution his fathers people did face what kind of god allows that? Oh and I am amply replete in knowledge of the atrocities the Nazi's did, most of the people committing the crimes were of course Religious but then you must know this as Germany was a deeply religious place.
To repost your assertion, how don't you know he never believed and his fathers, mothers or uncle's beliefs had nothing to do with his philanthropy and charitable work? I give to charity, and do my bit for society I have attended rallies and demonstrations over Human Rights have written to governments and embassy's which carry out actions I am opposed too, mainly religious nations actually, America, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Burma etc and I am have no religious inclinations nor do my parents or grandparents, who have also towed the line as far as giving and speaking up.
"Put another way. Suppose that the Vatican got full power over the world. And started persecuting atheists that way. I mean, taking you into the streets and shooting you. Deporting you to camps, to work and starve, and to be exterminated. Would that perhaps cause you to be quiet about you being an atheist?"
"Or would you proudly say, I am an atheist and take a bullet in the head, along with your entire family? Do you consider it _that_ important?
If you do, you're a fool, in my opinion. In _my_ opinion. And I think George Soros would feel the same."
being an atheist just means I don't believe in God it has no moral guide or dominance over my principles. What is imprtant to me is that standing up for whats right is very rarely easy in fact it is often the hardest thing in the world. Did Martin Luther King jr pipe down? Did Gandhi? Did Nelson Mandela? Did Che Guevara or Castro? Did Churchill? Do we now today just sit down and look at the floor when bad things happen and bad people approach us? No you get up and look it in the eye and say "I won't put up with this".
It is you who are the fool if at the slightest provocation our thereat you drop what you believe in what makes you you, so quick, and I doubt George Soros would agree his family and anyone else's caught up in in times like those no how dangerous walking away and giving up is.The world walked away from Africa look at it now, rotten, corrupt, impoverished and caught up in petty squabbles by small men, the xenophobic riots in South Africa show how dangerous inaction is. The world walked away from Afghanistan after Russia left, look what happened there a warzone where everyday men women and children are massacred by both sides.
If the Vatican ruled the world and wanted to force me to indoctrinate myself in their way of life too right I'd rather take a bullet
You have only mentioned Soros and his background but haven't replied about pope Leo X who was born and bred Catholic and was still an immoral corrupt person, how do explain that? If religious people are more moral what's a Pope's excuse?
"Then why hasn't he come out after since Nazi Germany fell 60 yrs ago, and say "hey I do really believe in god just thought I'd pretend not to, in case old Adolf and his minions came back"?"
Because Jews are still persecuted against, it is not organized, but there is still the hatred of it, in some circles. Often irrational. I think the kind of lesson that Soros learned from the Nazis might cause him to pipe down for the rest of his life, about his admiration and respect for Judaism, and all the good things he learned from it. I might turn my back on it completely, outwardly, though still be a Jew on the inside, in the heart. Simply to protect myself.
"To repost your assertion, how don't you know he never believed and his fathers, mothers or uncle's beliefs had nothing to do with his philanthropy and charitable work? I give to charity, and do my bit for society I have attended rallies and demonstrations over Human Rights have written to governments and embassy's which carry out actions I am opposed too, mainly religious nations actually, America, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Burma etc and I am have no religious inclinations nor do my parents or grandparents, who have also towed the line as far as giving and speaking up."
Writing to governments. Would that be through Amnesty International? Or do you just sit down one day, write a letter, find the right address in a given country, and send a letter, hoping it will get through and be read? Before we get deeped into this, I have to say though, I feel this is very admirable, very laudable, and God bless you for that, in my terminology.
ps. I will get back to Leo X when we are done with this, don't worry, I have a well-thought out response, anyway, it is on the way. To start off, the popes have always been considered inferior to the Saints. So the Church recognizes that there are individuals within the Church that are more virtuous than the popes. A Saint is considered higher in the hierarchy of holiness/godliness than the popes, though quite a few popes (but not all) have been named Saints as well. And many of them truly deserve the name. They did amazing things for the poor, corrected the corruption in Rome that their predecessor had set in place, and so on. Overall, most popes do a really good job for the people they are popes for. However, there have been a few bad popes. Here is a link to the pope which is considered the most corrupt, by Catholics:
Anyway, I hope this shows that Bill and Melinda easily can be more moral than the popes, and in fact, they are encouraged to be so. This is not done from the point of view of atheism which simply does not value such actions. Atheism does not recognize the inherent virtue of what they do. It is the same as genocide. Not to people. But to atheism. Which has no moral values, no concept of right and wrong attached to it, in any way. To atheism, genocide is as acceptable as philanthropy - as long as you don't believe in God, one way or the other. If not, where does atheism have a moral system attached to it, which values or devalues these things? I have never come across it, I simply don't see it _anywhere_ in atheism. It just leaves people to flounder, this way or that. I needed moral guidance, and _never_ found it in atheism. I would have found it in Christianity. So at the very least, Christianity is better if you have problems of character, and in my opinion, can't hurt much, in fact only improve character, if it is already good. But there are bad apples everywhere. That does not tarnish the system. Anymore than someone getting a D or a C-minus in math makes all of math useless, inherently flawed. It comes down to individuals who do not get what it is about. _Not_ the system. In atheism, there is _no_ system. That's the difference. No moral guidance or compass attached to it. People are literally left to their own devices, for better or worse.
Which is where all the problems begins, maybe not for you, but for many atheists who _need_ moral guidance, and don't get it either from home nor from their religion/way of looking at the world (by which I mean atheism..)
"Because Jews are still persecuted against, it is not organized, but there is still the hatred of it, in some circles. Often irrational. I think the kind of lesson that Soros learned from the Nazis might cause him to pipe down for the rest of his life, about his admiration and respect for Judaism, and all the good things he learned from it. I might turn my back on it completely, outwardly, though still be a Jew on the inside, in the heart. Simply to protect myself."
Jews are nowhere near as persecuted as they were in WW2 especially Billionaire ones who could afford security teams made up entirely of Arnold Schwarzenegger's, face it he is an atheist and a humanitarian.
"Jews are nowhere near as persecuted as they were in WW2 especially Billionaire ones who could afford security teams made up entirely of Arnold Schwarzenegger's, face it he is an atheist and a humanitarian."
But what about his business contacts, that he needs to build his fortune? Might they not turn their back on him if he openly declared himself Jewish? Persecution isn't always a mob with torches and clubs. I can also be exclusion from points of position and esteem, in society, in fact, in Germany, weren't Jews prohibited from holding high offices long before the physical/violent persecutions began? I remember hearing that prominent Jewish scientists and doctors were fired, for instance.
Who says there isn't anti-semitism among the rich? Weren't Hitler and his government comparatively rich, looked at relative to the average German? Did that prevent hatred, or persecution?
And how can he defend himself against that, with body guards? By ordering them to shoot other people of power, wealth and influence in society? What can he do? Other than, for the sake of business, keep his beliefs and religious identity on the low-low?
This needs to be noted. Much of Bill Gates's philanthropy has taken place through the Gates Foundation, which must include his wife, Melinda Gates, a practicing Roman Catholic. She has supported vital issues such as the need for immunization of children and accessibility of birth control for people in the neediest areas of our planet. Incorporated in the Catholic Catechism is the "preferential option for the poor." Melinda Gates clearly understands this teaching and is working to further this end.