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Religion is the Problem

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  • John Frazer
    For the sake of discussion Time to Stand Up By Richard Dawkins Distinguished British scientist, author and atheist Richard Dawkins, who was scheduled to
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 29, 2002
      For the sake of discussion


      "Time to Stand Up"
      By Richard Dawkins

      Distinguished British scientist, author and atheist Richard Dawkins, who was
      scheduled to accept an "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" on Sept. 22 at the
      Freedom From Religion Foundation convention, cancelled his appearance in
      light of travel difficulties after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against
      the United States.
      He supplied an exclusive article, reprinted below, which was read at the
      Foundation convention in his stead by James Coors, a professor of Agronomy
      at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
      The essay is a follow-up to Dawkins' powerful article, "Religion's Misguided
      Missiles," appearing in The Guardian on September 15, 2001. See excerpt
      following the article.
      ----------------------------------------

      Written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (http://www.ffrf.org),
      Madison, Wisconsin, September 2001.

      "To blame Islam for what happened in New York is like blaming Christianity
      for the troubles in Northern Ireland!" Yes. Precisely. It is time to stop
      pussyfooting around. Time to get angry. And not only with Islam.

      Those of us who have renounced one or another of the three "great"
      monotheistic religions have, until now, moderated our language for reasons
      of politeness. Christians, Jews and Muslims are sincere in their beliefs and
      in what they find holy. We have respected that, even as we have disagreed
      with it. The late Douglas Adams put it with his customary good humor, in an
      impromptu speech in 1998 (slightly abridged):
      "Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I'm sure we'll all agree,
      the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for
      thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world
      around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there
      to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another
      day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion
      doesn't seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it
      which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, "Here is an idea
      or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just
      not. Why not?--because you're not!" If somebody votes for a party that you
      don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like;
      everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If
      somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument
      about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light
      switch on a Saturday,' you say, "I respect that."
      The odd thing is, even as I am saying that, I am thinking "Is there an
      Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said
      that?" But I wouldn't have thought "Maybe there's somebody from the left
      wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view
      or the other in economics" when I was making the other points. I just think
      "Fine, we have different opinions." But, the moment I say something that has
      something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say
      irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly
      defensive and say "No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but
      no, we respect it."

      Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labor party
      or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics
      versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows--but to have an opinion about how
      the Universe began, about who created the Universe . . . no, that's holy?
      What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other
      than that we've just got used to doing so? There's no other reason at all,
      it's just one of those things that crept into being and once that loop gets
      going it's very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious
      ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furor Richard creates when he
      does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not
      allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no
      reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except
      that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be."

      Douglas is dead, but I think he would join me in asking people now to stand
      up and break this absurd taboo.
      My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust
      of September 11th. The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as
      I watched the "Day of Prayer" in Washington Cathedral, where people of
      mutually incompatible faiths united in homage to the very force that caused
      the problem in the first place: religion.
      It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand
      up and say "Enough!" Let our tribute to the dead be a new resolve: to
      respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups
      for what they were collectively brought up to believe.

      Notwithstanding bitter sectarian hatreds over the centuries (all too
      obviously still going strong), Judaism, Islam and Christianity have much in
      common. Despite New Testament watering down and other reformist tendencies,
      all three pay historic allegiance to the same violent and vindictive God of
      Battles, memorably summed up by Gore Vidal in 1998:
      "The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism.
      From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human
      religions have evolved--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god
      religions. They are, literally, patriarchal--God is the Omnipotent
      Father--hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries
      afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a
      jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth,
      as he is not just in place for one tribe, but for all creation. Those who
      would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good."

      In The Guardian of 15th September, I named belief in an afterlife as the key
      weapon that made the New York atrocity possible. Of prior significance is
      religion's deep responsibility for the underlying hatreds that motivated
      people to use that weapon in the first place. To breathe such a suggestion,
      even with the most gentlemanly restraint, is to invite an onslaught of
      patronizing abuse, as Douglas Adams noted. But the insane cruelty of the
      suicide attacks, and the equally vicious though numerically less
      catastrophic 'revenge' attacks on hapless Muslims living in America and
      Britain, push me beyond ordinary caution.

      How can I say that religion is to blame? Do I really imagine that, when a
      terrorist kills, he is motivated by a theological disagreement with his
      victim? Do I really think the Northern Ireland pub bomber says to himself
      "Take that, Tridentine Transubstantiationist bastards!" Of course I don't
      think anything of the kind. Theology is the last thing on the minds of such
      people. They are not killing because of religion itself, but because of
      political grievances, often justified. They are killing because the other
      lot killed their fathers. Or because the other lot drove their great
      grandfathers off their land. Or because the other lot oppressed our lot
      economically for centuries.

      My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and
      terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most
      dangerous one, by which a "they" as opposed to a "we" can be identified at
      all. I am not even claiming that religion is the only label by which we
      identify the victims of our prejudice. There's also skin color, language,
      and social class. But often, as in Northern Ireland, these don't apply and
      religion is the only divisive label around. Even when it is not alone,
      religion is nearly always an incendiary ingredient in the mix as well.

      It is not an exaggeration to say that religion is the most inflammatory
      enemy-labelling device in history. Who killed your father? Not the
      individuals you are about to kill in 'revenge.' The culprits themselves have
      vanished over the border. The people who stole your great grandfather's land
      have died of old age. You aim your vendetta at those who belong to the same
      religion as the original perpetrators. It wasn't Seamus who killed your
      brother, but it was Catholics, so Seamus deserves to die "in return." Next,
      it was Protestants who killed Seamus so let's go out and kill some
      Protestants "in revenge." It was Muslims who destroyed the World Trade
      Center so let's set upon the turbaned driver of a London taxi and leave him
      paralyzed from the neck down.

      The bitter hatreds that now poison Middle Eastern politics are rooted in the
      real or perceived wrong of the setting up of a Jewish State in an Islamic
      region. In view of all that the Jews had been through, it must have seemed a
      fair and humane solution. Probably deep familiarity with the Old Testament
      had given the European and American decision-makers some sort of idea that
      this really was the 'historic homeland' of the Jews (though the horrific
      stories of how Joshua and others conquered their Lebensraum might have made
      them wonder). Even if it wasn't justifiable at the time, no doubt a good
      case can be made that, since Israel exists now, to try to reverse the status
      quo would be a worse wrong.

      I do not intend to get into that argument. But if it had not been for
      religion, the very concept of a Jewish state would have had no meaning in
      the first place. Nor would the very concept of Islamic lands, as something
      to be invaded and desecrated. In a world without religion, there would have
      been no Crusades; no Inquisition; no anti-Semitic pogroms (the people of the
      diaspora would long ago have intermarried and become indistinguishable from
      their host populations); no Northern Ireland Troubles (no label by which to
      distinguish the two 'communities,' and no sectarian schools to teach the
      children historic hatreds--they would simply be one community).

      It is a spade we have here, let's call it a spade. The Emperor has no
      clothes. It is time to stop the mealy-mouthed euphemisms: 'Nationalists,'
      'Loyalists,' 'Communities,' 'Ethnic Groups.' Religions is the word you need.
      Religion is the word you are struggling hypocritically to avoid.

      Parenthetically, religion is unusual among divisive labels in being
      spectacularly unnecessary. If religious beliefs had any evidence going for
      them, we might have to respect them in spite of their concomitant
      unpleasantness. But there is no such evidence. To label people as
      death-deserving enemies because of disagreements about real world politics
      is bad enough. To do the same for disagreements about a delusional world
      inhabited by archangels, demons and imaginary friends is ludicrously tragic.

      The resilience of this form of hereditary delusion is as astonishing as its
      lack of realism. It seems that control of the plane which crashed near
      Pittsburgh was probably wrestled out of the hands of the terrorists by a
      group of brave passengers. The wife of one of these valiant and heroic men,
      after she took the telephone call in which he announced their intention,
      said that God had placed her husband on the plane as His instrument to
      prevent the plane crashing on the White House. I have the greatest sympathy
      for this poor woman in her tragic loss, but just think about it! As my (also
      understandably overwrought) American correspondent who sent me this piece of
      news said:

      "Couldn't God have just given the hijackers a heart attack or something
      instead of killing all those nice people on the plane? I guess he didn't
      give a flying f*ck about the Trade Center, didn't bother to come up with a
      plan for them." (I apologize for my friend's intemperate language but, in
      the circumstances, who can blame her?)
      Is there no catastrophe terrible enough to shake the faith of people, on
      both sides, in God's goodness and power? No glimmering realization that he
      might not be there at all: that we just might be on our own, needing to cope
      with the real world like grown-ups?

      Billy Graham, Mr. Bush's spiritual advisor, said in Washington Cathedral:
      But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like
      this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking now. You may even be
      angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands those feelings that
      you may have.

      Well, that's big of God, I must say. I'm sure that makes the bereaved feel a
      whole lot better (the pathetic thing is, it probably does!). Mr. Graham went
      on:
      I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and
      suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally,
      even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept, by faith, that God is
      sovereign, and He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of
      suffering. The Bible says God is not the author of evil. It speaks of evil
      as a "mystery."
      Less baffled by this deep theological mystery were two of America's
      best-known televangelists, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. In a
      conversation on Robertson's lucrative television show (religion is
      tax-exempt), they knew exactly where to put the blame. The whole thing was
      obviously caused by America's sin. Falwell said that God had protected
      America wonderfully for 225 years, but now, what with abortion and gays and
      lesbians and the ACLU, "all of them who have tried to secularize America . .
      . I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen." "Well, I
      totally concur," responded Robertson.
      Bush, to his credit, swiftly disowned this characteristic example of the
      religious mind at work.

      The United States is the most religious country in the Western world, and
      its born-again Christian leader is eyeball to eyeball with the most
      religious people on Earth. Both sides believe that the Bronze Age God of
      Battles is on their side. Both take risks with the world's future in
      unshakeable, fundamentalist faith that He will grant them the victory.
      Incidentally, people speak of Islamic Fundamentalists, but the customary
      genteel distinction between fundamentalist and moderate Islam has been
      convincingly demolished by Ibn Warraq in his well-informed book, Why I Am
      Not a Muslim.

      The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across
      generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than
      see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion gives strong sanction to
      both--and mixes explosively with both. Only the wilfully blind could fail to
      implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent
      enmities in the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of
      the Middle East. Those of us who have for years politely concealed our
      contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up
      and speak out. Things are different now. "All is changed, changed utterly."

      Richard Dawkins is professor of the Public Understanding of Science,
      University of Oxford, and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker
      and Unweaving the Rainbow.

      end quoted article~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      A recent edition of the Unitarian Universalist World magazine had a quote
      from a Pakistani physsics science professor. "We've been hearing lately,
      even from president Bush, that Islam is a religion of peace. This is not
      necessarily true, of Islam or of any religion. What religion is about is
      establishing its superiority above all others, and exercising it's right to
      force its will over others".




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    • Gary K. Shepherd
      Hi May I say that this article is some of the most articulate, erudite, and well-written baloney that I have ever encountered. I fear that it is Mr. Dawkins
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 4, 2002
        Hi
        May I say that this article is some of the most articulate, erudite, and
        well-written baloney that I have ever encountered. I fear that it is Mr.
        Dawkins who has no clothes.
        Peace and Unity,
        Gary

        At 03:38 PM 9/29/2002 -0600, John Frazer wrote:
        >For the sake of discussion
        >
        >
        >"Time to Stand Up"
        >By Richard Dawkins
        >
        >Distinguished British scientist, author and atheist Richard Dawkins, who was
        >scheduled to accept an "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" on Sept. 22 at the
        >Freedom From Religion Foundation convention, cancelled his appearance in
        >light of travel difficulties after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against
        >the United States.
        >He supplied an exclusive article, reprinted below, which was read at the
        >Foundation convention in his stead by James Coors, a professor of Agronomy
        >at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
        >The essay is a follow-up to Dawkins' powerful article, "Religion's Misguided
        >Missiles," appearing in The Guardian on September 15, 2001. See excerpt
        >following the article.
        >----------------------------------------
        >
        >Written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (http://www.ffrf.org),
        >Madison, Wisconsin, September 2001.
        >
        >"To blame Islam for what happened in New York is like blaming Christianity
        >for the troubles in Northern Ireland!" Yes. Precisely. It is time to stop
        >pussyfooting around. Time to get angry. And not only with Islam.
        >
        >Those of us who have renounced one or another of the three "great"
        >monotheistic religions have, until now, moderated our language for reasons
        >of politeness. Christians, Jews and Muslims are sincere in their beliefs and
        >in what they find holy. We have respected that, even as we have disagreed
        >with it. The late Douglas Adams put it with his customary good humor, in an
        >impromptu speech in 1998 (slightly abridged):
        >"Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I'm sure we'll all agree,
        >the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for
        >thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world
        >around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there
        >to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another
        >day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion
        >doesn't seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it
        >which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, "Here is an idea
        >or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just
        >not. Why not?--because you're not!" If somebody votes for a party that you
        >don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like;
        >everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If
        >somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument
        >about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light
        >switch on a Saturday,' you say, "I respect that."
        >The odd thing is, even as I am saying that, I am thinking "Is there an
        >Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said
        >that?" But I wouldn't have thought "Maybe there's somebody from the left
        >wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view
        >or the other in economics" when I was making the other points. I just think
        >"Fine, we have different opinions." But, the moment I say something that has
        >something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say
        >irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly
        >defensive and say "No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but
        >no, we respect it."
        >
        >Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labor party
        >or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics
        >versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows--but to have an opinion about how
        >the Universe began, about who created the Universe . . . no, that's holy?
        >What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other
        >than that we've just got used to doing so? There's no other reason at all,
        >it's just one of those things that crept into being and once that loop gets
        >going it's very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious
        >ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furor Richard creates when he
        >does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not
        >allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no
        >reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except
        >that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be."
        >
        >Douglas is dead, but I think he would join me in asking people now to stand
        >up and break this absurd taboo.
        >My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust
        >of September 11th. The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as
        >I watched the "Day of Prayer" in Washington Cathedral, where people of
        >mutually incompatible faiths united in homage to the very force that caused
        >the problem in the first place: religion.
        >It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand
        >up and say "Enough!" Let our tribute to the dead be a new resolve: to
        >respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups
        >for what they were collectively brought up to believe.
        >
        >Notwithstanding bitter sectarian hatreds over the centuries (all too
        >obviously still going strong), Judaism, Islam and Christianity have much in
        >common. Despite New Testament watering down and other reformist tendencies,
        >all three pay historic allegiance to the same violent and vindictive God of
        >Battles, memorably summed up by Gore Vidal in 1998:
        > "The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism.
        > From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human
        >religions have evolved--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god
        >religions. They are, literally, patriarchal--God is the Omnipotent
        >Father--hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries
        >afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a
        >jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth,
        >as he is not just in place for one tribe, but for all creation. Those who
        >would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good."
        >
        >In The Guardian of 15th September, I named belief in an afterlife as the key
        >weapon that made the New York atrocity possible. Of prior significance is
        >religion's deep responsibility for the underlying hatreds that motivated
        >people to use that weapon in the first place. To breathe such a suggestion,
        >even with the most gentlemanly restraint, is to invite an onslaught of
        >patronizing abuse, as Douglas Adams noted. But the insane cruelty of the
        >suicide attacks, and the equally vicious though numerically less
        >catastrophic 'revenge' attacks on hapless Muslims living in America and
        >Britain, push me beyond ordinary caution.
        >
        >How can I say that religion is to blame? Do I really imagine that, when a
        >terrorist kills, he is motivated by a theological disagreement with his
        >victim? Do I really think the Northern Ireland pub bomber says to himself
        >"Take that, Tridentine Transubstantiationist bastards!" Of course I don't
        >think anything of the kind. Theology is the last thing on the minds of such
        >people. They are not killing because of religion itself, but because of
        >political grievances, often justified. They are killing because the other
        >lot killed their fathers. Or because the other lot drove their great
        >grandfathers off their land. Or because the other lot oppressed our lot
        >economically for centuries.
        >
        >My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and
        >terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most
        >dangerous one, by which a "they" as opposed to a "we" can be identified at
        >all. I am not even claiming that religion is the only label by which we
        >identify the victims of our prejudice. There's also skin color, language,
        >and social class. But often, as in Northern Ireland, these don't apply and
        >religion is the only divisive label around. Even when it is not alone,
        >religion is nearly always an incendiary ingredient in the mix as well.
        >
        >It is not an exaggeration to say that religion is the most inflammatory
        >enemy-labelling device in history. Who killed your father? Not the
        >individuals you are about to kill in 'revenge.' The culprits themselves have
        >vanished over the border. The people who stole your great grandfather's land
        >have died of old age. You aim your vendetta at those who belong to the same
        >religion as the original perpetrators. It wasn't Seamus who killed your
        >brother, but it was Catholics, so Seamus deserves to die "in return." Next,
        >it was Protestants who killed Seamus so let's go out and kill some
        >Protestants "in revenge." It was Muslims who destroyed the World Trade
        >Center so let's set upon the turbaned driver of a London taxi and leave him
        >paralyzed from the neck down.
        >
        >The bitter hatreds that now poison Middle Eastern politics are rooted in the
        >real or perceived wrong of the setting up of a Jewish State in an Islamic
        >region. In view of all that the Jews had been through, it must have seemed a
        >fair and humane solution. Probably deep familiarity with the Old Testament
        >had given the European and American decision-makers some sort of idea that
        >this really was the 'historic homeland' of the Jews (though the horrific
        >stories of how Joshua and others conquered their Lebensraum might have made
        >them wonder). Even if it wasn't justifiable at the time, no doubt a good
        >case can be made that, since Israel exists now, to try to reverse the status
        >quo would be a worse wrong.
        >
        >I do not intend to get into that argument. But if it had not been for
        >religion, the very concept of a Jewish state would have had no meaning in
        >the first place. Nor would the very concept of Islamic lands, as something
        >to be invaded and desecrated. In a world without religion, there would have
        >been no Crusades; no Inquisition; no anti-Semitic pogroms (the people of the
        >diaspora would long ago have intermarried and become indistinguishable from
        >their host populations); no Northern Ireland Troubles (no label by which to
        >distinguish the two 'communities,' and no sectarian schools to teach the
        >children historic hatreds--they would simply be one community).
        >
        >It is a spade we have here, let's call it a spade. The Emperor has no
        >clothes. It is time to stop the mealy-mouthed euphemisms: 'Nationalists,'
        >'Loyalists,' 'Communities,' 'Ethnic Groups.' Religions is the word you need.
        >Religion is the word you are struggling hypocritically to avoid.
        >
        >Parenthetically, religion is unusual among divisive labels in being
        >spectacularly unnecessary. If religious beliefs had any evidence going for
        >them, we might have to respect them in spite of their concomitant
        >unpleasantness. But there is no such evidence. To label people as
        >death-deserving enemies because of disagreements about real world politics
        >is bad enough. To do the same for disagreements about a delusional world
        >inhabited by archangels, demons and imaginary friends is ludicrously tragic.
        >
        >The resilience of this form of hereditary delusion is as astonishing as its
        >lack of realism. It seems that control of the plane which crashed near
        >Pittsburgh was probably wrestled out of the hands of the terrorists by a
        >group of brave passengers. The wife of one of these valiant and heroic men,
        >after she took the telephone call in which he announced their intention,
        >said that God had placed her husband on the plane as His instrument to
        >prevent the plane crashing on the White House. I have the greatest sympathy
        >for this poor woman in her tragic loss, but just think about it! As my (also
        >understandably overwrought) American correspondent who sent me this piece of
        >news said:
        >
        >"Couldn't God have just given the hijackers a heart attack or something
        >instead of killing all those nice people on the plane? I guess he didn't
        >give a flying f*ck about the Trade Center, didn't bother to come up with a
        >plan for them." (I apologize for my friend's intemperate language but, in
        >the circumstances, who can blame her?)
        >Is there no catastrophe terrible enough to shake the faith of people, on
        >both sides, in God's goodness and power? No glimmering realization that he
        >might not be there at all: that we just might be on our own, needing to cope
        >with the real world like grown-ups?
        >
        >Billy Graham, Mr. Bush's spiritual advisor, said in Washington Cathedral:
        >But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like
        >this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking now. You may even be
        >angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands those feelings that
        >you may have.
        >
        >Well, that's big of God, I must say. I'm sure that makes the bereaved feel a
        >whole lot better (the pathetic thing is, it probably does!). Mr. Graham went
        >on:
        >I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and
        >suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally,
        >even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept, by faith, that God is
        >sovereign, and He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of
        >suffering. The Bible says God is not the author of evil. It speaks of evil
        >as a "mystery."
        >Less baffled by this deep theological mystery were two of America's
        >best-known televangelists, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. In a
        >conversation on Robertson's lucrative television show (religion is
        >tax-exempt), they knew exactly where to put the blame. The whole thing was
        >obviously caused by America's sin. Falwell said that God had protected
        >America wonderfully for 225 years, but now, what with abortion and gays and
        >lesbians and the ACLU, "all of them who have tried to secularize America . .
        >. I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen." "Well, I
        >totally concur," responded Robertson.
        >Bush, to his credit, swiftly disowned this characteristic example of the
        >religious mind at work.
        >
        >The United States is the most religious country in the Western world, and
        >its born-again Christian leader is eyeball to eyeball with the most
        >religious people on Earth. Both sides believe that the Bronze Age God of
        >Battles is on their side. Both take risks with the world's future in
        >unshakeable, fundamentalist faith that He will grant them the victory.
        >Incidentally, people speak of Islamic Fundamentalists, but the customary
        >genteel distinction between fundamentalist and moderate Islam has been
        >convincingly demolished by Ibn Warraq in his well-informed book, Why I Am
        >Not a Muslim.
        >
        >The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across
        >generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than
        >see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion gives strong sanction to
        >both--and mixes explosively with both. Only the wilfully blind could fail to
        >implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent
        >enmities in the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of
        >the Middle East. Those of us who have for years politely concealed our
        >contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up
        >and speak out. Things are different now. "All is changed, changed utterly."
        >
        >Richard Dawkins is professor of the Public Understanding of Science,
        >University of Oxford, and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker
        >and Unweaving the Rainbow.
        >
        >end quoted article~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        >A recent edition of the Unitarian Universalist World magazine had a quote
        >from a Pakistani physsics science professor. "We've been hearing lately,
        >even from president Bush, that Islam is a religion of peace. This is not
        >necessarily true, of Islam or of any religion. What religion is about is
        >establishing its superiority above all others, and exercising it's right to
        >force its will over others".
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >_________________________________________________________________
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        >http://www.hotmail.com
        >
        >
        >
        >"I have believed that the only way peace can be achieved is through world
        >government" (Jawaharal Nehru)
        >
        >For more information: www.worldservice.org and info@...
        >
        >
        >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >

        Gary K. Shepherd
        Documents Center
        Morris Library
        SIU
        Carbondale, IL 62901
        618-536-2163
        gshepher@...
      • John Frazer
        From Gary K. Shepherd Re: Religion is the Problem ... articulate, erudite, and well-written baloney that I have ever encountered. ... article as baloney when
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 21, 2002
          From Gary K. Shepherd
          Re: Religion is the Problem
          >>May I say that this article is some of the most
          articulate, erudite, and well-written baloney that
          I have ever encountered.
          >>I fear that it is Mr. Dawkins who has no clothes.

          >Perhaps, I was unkind in characterizing the entire
          article as baloney when in fact, there were some parts
          of it with which I had no problem.
          >However, I should hope that the glaring
          over-generalizations and logical flaws in the article
          would be obvious to just about anyone, regardless of
          their religious persuasions.
          >I urge you to read it again with an open, but
          critical mind, and I think you will see what I mean.

          Which parts? The bit about the savagery of the bronze-age God of battles and
          the anti-human values it teaches, or the hypocrisy of proclaiming belief in
          it so that (if it exists) it won't torture you for all eternity, or the fact
          that its followers have used its name ("in goodness and mercy") down through
          the centuries to justify all sorts of atrocities, and that they still to
          this day use it as justification to kill?

          I can see how some of the more complex chains of thought he writes about can
          be interpreted in different lights, thus disqualifying some conclusions. The
          same can be said for anything.

          "Only the wilfully blind could fail to implicate the
          divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the
          violent enmities in the world today. Without a doubt
          it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East.
          Those of us who have for years politely concealed our
          contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of
          religion need to stand up and speak out."

          _________________________________________________________________
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        • Gary K. Shepherd
          Hi In his article, Mr. Dawkins admits that religion is not the motivation behind violence or as he puts it, Do I really think the Northern Ireland pub bomber
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 10, 2003
            Hi
            In his article, Mr. Dawkins admits that religion is not the motivation
            behind violence or as he puts it,

            Do I really think the Northern Ireland pub bomber says to himself
            "Take that, Tridentine Transubstantiationist bastards!" Of course I don't
            think anything of the kind. Theology is the last thing on the minds of such
            people. They are not killing because of religion itself, but because of
            political grievances, often justified

            Yet despite this admission, Mr. Dawkins still manages to find religion,
            particularly the three monothesticit 'Abrahamic' religions, somehow to
            blame. Without a doubt, adherents of religion have committed unspeakable
            atrocities, and often used religion to justify their acts. The attack on
            Sept. 11 is only one example of that history, and a rather minor example at
            that. But that is only part of the story.

            Monotheists hold no monopoly on violence and cruelty. Some of the greatest
            crimes against humanity were committed by others: The officially atheist
            Soviet Union sent millions to starve in the Gulags, Pol Pot's Khymer Rouge
            created the killing fields of Cambodia, and the Maoists committed the
            Cultural Revolution. Even the Holocaust, in which some Christians
            participated, was undertaken for 'racial' reasons by a regime hostile to
            Christianity, and was resisted by other Christians, often at the risk of
            their lives. The Bataan Death March, and the massacres of Genghis Khan
            were committed by people of non-monotheistic faiths. I'd say there was
            plenty of blame to go around.

            At the same time, the Abrahamic faiths have produced people who have fought
            for peace and justice, people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Lay,
            Bishop Tutu, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Gaffar Khan, Teilhard de Chardain
            and a host of others. Adherents of those faiths have produced some of the
            great works of art, literature and music as expressions of their faith,
            works that have enriched all of humanity.

            But more important than any of that is the fact that every day, hundreds of
            millions of members of these three faiths go through their daily lives,
            without harming or desiring to harm anyone of any faith. I have in my life
            been constantly surrounded by people of many different religious faiths,
            and never has a single one ever used violence toward me in any way because
            of my religion. I would bet that is the experience of most of the people
            on this list, regardless of their own particular beliefs.

            I think it is obvious that there are other social dynamics at play than
            religious faith; in fact, I'd say that religion plays a minor part. Where
            the religions have erred, I would maintain, is where they compromise their
            basic message in attempt to fit in with the greater society. "When they
            came for the Jews, I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew" as Bonhoeffer
            put it. That is no doubt a great crime, and one to which people of all
            faiths must answer. Nevertheless, it is more a sin of omission than of
            commission. Because doctors sometimes fail to save patients when
            attempting to cure them is no reason to abandon the practice of medicine.

            To dismiss the testimony of millions of people over the centuries who have
            reported having experienced some sort of connection with God as a delusion,
            simply because one hasn't had such an experience oneself, strikes me as
            being somewhat presumptuous. I would assume that Mr. Dawkins doesn't want
            to give the impression that he thinks he is smarter and better than all
            those deluded fools who believe in God, but he comes dangerously close to
            implying as much. The Greek word for that is Hubris.

            Peace and Unity,
            Gary

            At 01:26 PM 12/21/2002 -0700, you wrote:
            > From Gary K. Shepherd
            >Re: Religion is the Problem
            > >>May I say that this article is some of the most
            >articulate, erudite, and well-written baloney that
            >I have ever encountered.
            > >>I fear that it is Mr. Dawkins who has no clothes.
            >
            > >Perhaps, I was unkind in characterizing the entire
            >article as baloney when in fact, there were some parts
            >of it with which I had no problem.
            > >However, I should hope that the glaring
            >over-generalizations and logical flaws in the article
            >would be obvious to just about anyone, regardless of
            >their religious persuasions.
            > >I urge you to read it again with an open, but
            >critical mind, and I think you will see what I mean.
            >
            >Which parts? The bit about the savagery of the bronze-age God of battles and
            >the anti-human values it teaches, or the hypocrisy of proclaiming belief in
            >it so that (if it exists) it won't torture you for all eternity, or the fact
            >that its followers have used its name ("in goodness and mercy") down through
            >the centuries to justify all sorts of atrocities, and that they still to
            >this day use it as justification to kill?
            >
            >I can see how some of the more complex chains of thought he writes about can
            >be interpreted in different lights, thus disqualifying some conclusions. The
            >same can be said for anything.
            >
            >"Only the wilfully blind could fail to implicate the
            >divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the
            >violent enmities in the world today. Without a doubt
            >it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East.
            >Those of us who have for years politely concealed our
            >contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of
            >religion need to stand up and speak out."
            >
            >_________________________________________________________________
            >MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 3 months FREE*.
            >http://join.msn.com/?page=features/virus&xAPID=42&PS=47575&PI=7324&DI=7474&SU=
            >
            >http://www.hotmail.msn.com/cgi-bin/getmsg&HL=1216hotmailtaglines_virusprotection_3mf
            >
            >
            >
            >"I have believed that the only way peace can be achieved is through world
            >government" (Jawaharal Nehru)
            >
            >For more information: www.worldservice.org and info@...
            >
            >
            >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >

            Gary K. Shepherd
            Documents Center
            Morris Library
            SIU
            Carbondale, IL 62901
            618-536-2163
            gshepher@...
          • akshay khanna
            hello i had gone through yor site and i agree with ur idea.iwant to fight for human rights and to upgrade humanity.please send me the literature regarding this
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 18, 2003
              hello
              i had gone through yor site and i agree with ur
              idea.iwant to fight for human rights and to upgrade
              humanity.please send me the literature regarding this
              and inform me about yor meetings in india and abroad.
              THE ONLY RELIGION IN WORLD IS HUMANITY
              this has to be accepted by world and we
              all have to work for it.
              Hope to hear from u soon.
              bye.
              manish.




















              --- John Frazer <johnf4303@...> wrote:
              > From Gary K. Shepherd
              > Re: Religion is the Problem
              > >>May I say that this article is some of the most
              > articulate, erudite, and well-written baloney that
              > I have ever encountered.
              > >>I fear that it is Mr. Dawkins who has no clothes.
              >
              > >Perhaps, I was unkind in characterizing the entire
              > article as baloney when in fact, there were some
              > parts
              > of it with which I had no problem.
              > >However, I should hope that the glaring
              > over-generalizations and logical flaws in the
              > article
              > would be obvious to just about anyone, regardless of
              > their religious persuasions.
              > >I urge you to read it again with an open, but
              > critical mind, and I think you will see what I mean.
              >
              > Which parts? The bit about the savagery of the
              > bronze-age God of battles and
              > the anti-human values it teaches, or the hypocrisy
              > of proclaiming belief in
              > it so that (if it exists) it won't torture you for
              > all eternity, or the fact
              > that its followers have used its name ("in goodness
              > and mercy") down through
              > the centuries to justify all sorts of atrocities,
              > and that they still to
              > this day use it as justification to kill?
              >
              > I can see how some of the more complex chains of
              > thought he writes about can
              > be interpreted in different lights, thus
              > disqualifying some conclusions. The
              > same can be said for anything.
              >
              > "Only the wilfully blind could fail to implicate the
              > divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of
              > the
              > violent enmities in the world today. Without a doubt
              > it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East.
              > Those of us who have for years politely concealed
              > our
              > contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of
              > religion need to stand up and speak out."
              >
              >
              _________________________________________________________________
              > MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 3 months
              > FREE*.
              >
              http://join.msn.com/?page=features/virus&xAPID=42&PS=47575&PI=7324&DI=7474&SU=
              >
              >
              http://www.hotmail.msn.com/cgi-bin/getmsg&HL=1216hotmailtaglines_virusprotection_3mf
              >
              >
              >


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            • David Garcia <drgarcia@xtra.co.nz>
              Hi! I m new to this group. I see some interesting comments and will try to enter the discussion by offering my views. ... Since i m new here i m not familiar
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 13, 2003
                Hi! I'm new to this group. I see some interesting comments and will
                try to enter the discussion by offering my views.

                --- In WorldCitizen@yahoogroups.com, akshay khanna
                <akshay_khanna11@y...> wrote:

                > THE ONLY RELIGION IN WORLD IS HUMANITY
                > this has to be accepted by world and we
                > all have to work for it.

                Since i'm new here i'm not familiar with the background of your
                comments. But just in case i'm not too far off the mark, may i offer
                the followiing:

                I agree with the spirit of what you appear to be saying about
                religion. If a medicine designed to heal humankind and promote unity
                and collective health gradually becomes rotten and even poisonous,
                then it's better to get rid of it. Why retain a supposed medicine
                that only makes us sicker? Most religions in their old age do seem
                to become not only senile but actively destructive and end up doing
                precisely what they were originally intended to prevent.

                But if we discover that certain foods have become poisonous, it
                doesn't follow that we must therefore stop eating food. We can't
                survive without it. The real issue is over good food or bad food,
                not whether to eat or not. Of course anyone looking at the current
                display of almost all modern religions will hardly see anything that
                is encouraging and much that is very discouraging. But if we take a
                larger perspective that looks at much more than our current modern
                history, and take that large panoramic view of history that historian
                of civilization Arnold Toynbee did, then we see that it is some kind
                of religious "fervor" (as he delicately put it) that is behind the
                rise of just about every one of the civilizational processes that we
                know. It's not difficult at all to trace most civilizations back to
                a religion in in vibrant and youthful stages, when it brings out good
                qualities in humans, lifting themselves up out of a more selfish
                nature. And this collective improvement in the quality of a humans
                eventually produces the effects in the civilizations that we have
                seen during their rise.

                We are now evidently in the last stages of decline of the current
                world-encompassing civilization that was spread globally during the
                age of European colonization of much of the world, so we see the
                depressing results of all those characteristic traits that Toynbee
                mentioned such as social and spiritual decay accompanied by material
                development prior to the inevitable sudden collapse of the entire
                system.

                I would like to suggest that it would be a good thing to get rid of
                religion of any kind in its stages of decay when they become so
                destructive. But at the same time i'd like to say that just because
                the Torch of Religion has been used to set fire to the structures of
                our civilization doesn't mean that it wasn't originally intended to
                light the way through the darkness of a humanity that is otherwise
                stumbling about in confusion, selfishness, greed, belligerence and
                ultimate self-defeat. I'm in agreement with Toynbee that humans
                cannot live without religion of some kind -- otherwise we have no
                guidelines and original impetus by which to make humans cooperative,
                honest, fair and kind and will see a gradual collapse into humans
                behaving ever more viciously and wildly, with ever more warring and
                violence. The matter is simply one of having a religion that is
                fresh, new, vibrant and constructive. Perhaps this is why religions
                appear to be periodically renewed, and when the fresh new ones
                arrive, the old ones get rotten and harmful.

                This in no way summarizes my complete view on the matter but is an
                intro to this discussion.

                Thanks!

                david
              • lamarr rollins-el
                Good day all, I am Dr. Solomon Judah El. I currently am not a world citizen in the REGISTERED sence. I just can not afford to do so at this time (Become A
                Message 7 of 12 , Mar 7, 2003
                  Good day all,
                  I am Dr. Solomon Judah El.
                  I currently am not a world citizen in the REGISTERED
                  sence.

                  I just can not afford to do so at this time (Become A
                  registered World Citizen), but I am planing to do so
                  in the future when my money allows me too.

                  In any case I did not write today to go over my money
                  problemes with the world but to respond to another
                  problem that I have been getting in my email from
                  WorldCitizen@yahoogroups.com.

                  There are people out there blaiming things on
                  religion. They are putting out that religion is the
                  problem with the world and its governments today. I am
                  so sick of people pointing the finger to every littele
                  thing that they can focus there eye-site on as the
                  root of there problems.

                  My friends religion was made up by man and then
                  instituted by man..

                  Government was made up by man also.. As well as law,
                  code, statue, and a host of other things we may or may
                  not like in this world today..
                  So you see it is not the objects that man creates that
                  are the problem, it is the MAN...

                  It is time that we take a look at the real problem
                  that being ourselves. Then will will be able to
                  resolve our worldly problems...

                  This is easy said than done for most men are slaves to
                  there ego. Being an inividual has rendered the masses
                  BLIND and FOOLISH. It is very hard to tell a fool to
                  check himself...

                  So NO RELIGION is not THE PROBLEM....IT IS MAN...

                  DR EL
                • bamba wade
                  BONSOIR MR LE DOCTEUR. Je suis tres content de recevoir ton message.Ce que vous dites que c est l homme le probleme je le crois mais aussi à vrais dire c est
                  Message 8 of 12 , Mar 18, 2003
                    BONSOIR MR LE DOCTEUR.
                    Je suis tres content de recevoir ton message.Ce que
                    vous dites que c'est l'homme le probleme je le crois
                    mais aussi à vrais dire c'est la religion qui est le
                    probleme.La cause est que chaque personne croit à sa
                    religion de tel sorte qu'il pense que y a pas d'autres
                    religions pour lui.donc chaque personne doit respecter
                    sa religion et celui d'autrui.




                    MR le docteur je vous demande d'etre un citoyen, du
                    monde, moi qui parle avec vous j'etais citoyen du
                    monde longtemps san m'inscrire.celui qui m'a donne
                    pour la premiere fois l'adresse du world citizen
                    lorsqu'il m'a montré la carte d'identité mondial
                    j'etais tellement content parceque je savais le
                    mouvement du WC va amener une democratie partout dans
                    le monde.la carte d'identité etait de couleur jaune.



                    SEULE LE GOUVERNEMNT DU MONDE PEUT AMENER LA PAIX
                    DANS LE MONDE.
                    MERCI.
                    lamarrrollinsel@...

                    de la part de BAMBA WADE.




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                  • elvice Akpocli
                    salut bamba moi je suis beninois et je suis etudiant en science politique .le concept citoyen du monde je l ai adopte depuis fort lomgtemps et je penses que
                    Message 9 of 12 , Mar 29, 2003
                      salut bamba
                      moi je suis beninois et je suis etudiant en science
                      politique .le concept citoyen du monde je l ai adopte
                      depuis fort lomgtemps et je penses que cette cause est
                      juste et noble .il me reste maintenant a me faire
                      enregister normalement et obtenir la carte d identite
                      mondiale et le passport car je ne vsaurais voyager
                      sans cela desormais mais j aimerai savoir si les
                      procedures sont draconnienne ?ok porte vous bien et a
                      bientot











                      --- bamba wade <bambawade@...> a écrit :
                      ---------------------------------

                      BONSOIR MR LE DOCTEUR.
                      Je suis tres content de recevoir ton message.Ce que
                      vous dites que c'est l'homme le probleme je le crois
                      mais aussi à vrais dire c'est la religion qui est le
                      probleme.La cause est que chaque personne croit à sa
                      religion de tel sorte qu'il pense que y a pas d'autres
                      religions pour lui.donc chaque personne doit respecter
                      sa religion et celui d'autrui.




                      MR le docteur je vous demande d'etre un citoyen, du
                      monde, moi qui parle avec vous j'etais citoyen du
                      monde longtemps san m'inscrire.celui qui m'a donne
                      pour la premiere fois l'adresse du world citizen
                      lorsqu'il m'a montré la carte d'identité mondial
                      j'etais tellement content parceque je savais le
                      mouvement du WC va amener une democratie partout dans
                      le monde.la carte d'identité etait de couleur jaune.



                      SEULE LE GOUVERNEMNT DU MONDE PEUT AMENER LA PAIX
                      DANS LE MONDE.
                      MERCI.
                      lamarrrollinsel@...

                      de la part de BAMBA WADE.




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                    • c/qaadir maxamuud
                      je suis tres content de recovoir votres message et meme tu as parle que tuotes les proplemes est la religion .. mais je ne crois pas .. je peux dire que je
                      Message 10 of 12 , Mar 31, 2003

                        je suis tres content de recovoir votres message et meme tu as parle que tuotes les proplemes est la religion .. mais je ne crois pas .. je peux dire que je intresse beaucoup ce qui ce passe dans le monde.. et meme fois mon point de vue je crois il ya un querre entre les politiciannes..



                         
                         
                        sasasas.jpg 
                         



                        Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ? Yahoo! Magasinage.
                      • Mustafa Ali mohamed
                        a mon avis Je suis contre religion est le probleme .Je suis desole pour vous incorrect idee ver la problem tu as dit est la religion. a mon
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 13, 2003
                           a mon  avis  Je  suis  contre  religion est  le  probleme .
                          Je  suis   desole pour  vous  incorrect idee ver  la problem  tu as  dit  est  la  religion.
                           
                          a  mon avis  le probleme  ne pas   religion parce que comme  vous  vaoyez les  guerres  entre les different peuple  dans  la  monde ne  pas  accord  avec la musluman  est la christien , mais  est la  gurre pou les  politicitiens dans  la  monde .
                           
                          cela idee de  monsuier A/qaadir est  melliuer et  moi je  suis  avec lui .
                           
                          merci  de votre  attention .
                          mustafa Ali Mohamed.
                          nairobi  kenya .
                           

                          c/qaadir maxamuud <abaange@...> wrote:

                          je suis tres content de recovoir votres message et meme tu as parle que tuotes les proplemes est la religion .. mais je ne crois pas .. je peux dire que je intresse beaucoup ce qui ce passe dans le monde.. et meme fois mon point de vue je crois il ya un querre entre les politiciannes..



                          sasasas.jpg



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                        • bamba wade
                          Merci, maxamuud. Mais je veux te dire que la base toute chose est un probleme de religion. Je ne dit pas pour attaquer quelqu un, mais je peux te donner
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 15, 2003
                            Merci, maxamuud. Mais je veux te dire que la base
                            toute chose est un probleme de religion. Je ne dit pas
                            pour attaquer quelqu'un, mais je peux te donner
                            exemple sur le sénégal mon pays. Il yavit des
                            integrsites appelé "Ibadou rahmanes". Ils ont fait un
                            jour de vendredi un discours qui parlait des bayes
                            fall (c'est un autre groupe religieux inclus dans le
                            mouridisme)Après les Bayes Fall les ont attaqués.
                            Encore une fois je ne critique aucune religion, mon
                            idee est de cultiverla paix
                            Merci
                            --- c/qaadir maxamuud
                            <abaange@...> a écrit : >

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