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Introduction

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  • Jack Musser
    I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to religion, in fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an inevitable reality for
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 6, 2009
      I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to religion, in
      fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an
      inevitable reality for man, 2. I believe that Christianity is one of
      the better options, 3. I believe it is possible to criticize
      Christianity without becoming obnoxious and giving atheists a bad rap,
      4. I believe atheists should criticize the worst manifestations of any
      religion and use the best in any religion to challenge its believers.

      My intent is not to create any antagonism, only to reason with those
      who find this topic of interest. If we disagree, we can have a good
      time trying to defend our positions.
    • Kirk Schwiebert
      What exactly makes Christianity one of the better options? It has, over its 2000 year existence, pursued murder, warfare, and genocide to impose its beliefs on
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 7, 2009
        What exactly makes Christianity one of the better options? It has,
        over its 2000 year existence, pursued murder, warfare, and genocide
        to impose its beliefs on others. It has, and continues to in many
        circles, subjucated women. It has, and continues to in most of its
        derivatives, mentally abused small children with fairy tales about
        going to hell for simply having "impure" thoughts. In some cases it
        has sanctioned and protected the physical abuse of children, even to
        this day. Can all these things be said about Hinduism, Buddhism,
        Judaism? Can any of these things be said about those 3 religions?



        --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Musser"
        <gladflyweather@...> wrote:
        >
        > I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to religion,
        in
        > fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an
        > inevitable reality for man, 2. I believe that Christianity is one
        of
        > the better options, 3. I believe it is possible to criticize
        > Christianity without becoming obnoxious and giving atheists a bad
        rap,
        > 4. I believe atheists should criticize the worst manifestations of
        any
        > religion and use the best in any religion to challenge its
        believers.
        >
        > My intent is not to create any antagonism, only to reason with
        those
        > who find this topic of interest. If we disagree, we can have a
        good
        > time trying to defend our positions.
        >
      • bestonnet_00
        ... Despite it being wrong (and not very inevitable given how fragile faith is). ... Actually it s probably one of the worst when it comes to violence and
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 7, 2009
          --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Musser"
          <gladflyweather@...> wrote:
          >
          > I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to religion,
          > in fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an
          > inevitable reality for man,

          Despite it being wrong (and not very inevitable given how fragile
          faith is).

          > 2. I believe that Christianity is one of the better options,

          Actually it's probably one of the worst when it comes to violence and
          oppression.

          > 3. I believe it is possible to criticize Christianity without
          > becoming obnoxious and giving atheists a bad rap,

          A lot of people who believed that have found out the hard way that
          it's actually isn't.

          The basic problem is that criticism of religion has become something
          of a taboo in our society to the point at which even mild criticism is
          considered obnoxious.

          I wouldn't expect the regular theists in here to do any of that but
          there are a lot of religious people in the real world who take offence
          at even mild criticisms.
        • kschwiebert@prodigy.net
          While I left out Islam as an example of a religion which did not commit genocide to impose its beliefs on others, I should have included it. While it is true
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 8, 2009
            While I left out Islam as an example of a religion which did not
            commit genocide to impose its beliefs on others, I should have
            included it. While it is true that Muslims conquered many regions and
            spread their faith, they did not, as a rule, impose it on Christians
            and Jews. Within the Caliphate Christians and Jews were tolerated,
            allowed to practice their religions, but had to pay a special tax
            which Muslims did not. While they were less tolerant of other non-
            Abrahamic religions, they behaved much more humanely than Christians
            ever did in the same circumstances.



            --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Musser"
            <gladflyweather@...> wrote:
            >
            > I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to religion,
            in
            > fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an
            > inevitable reality for man, 2. I believe that Christianity is one
            of
            > the better options, 3. I believe it is possible to criticize
            > Christianity without becoming obnoxious and giving atheists a bad
            rap,
            > 4. I believe atheists should criticize the worst manifestations of
            any
            > religion and use the best in any religion to challenge its
            believers.
            >
            > My intent is not to create any antagonism, only to reason with
            those
            > who find this topic of interest. If we disagree, we can have a
            good
            > time trying to defend our positions.
            >
          • kensharp81
            How do you define better in this context? ... wrote: 2. I believe that Christianity is one of
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 8, 2009
              How do you define "better" in this context?

              --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Musser"
              <gladflyweather@...> wrote:

              2. I believe that Christianity is one of
              > the better options
            • Richard Godwin
              It is easy to overlook the diversity of Christianity, even at its beginning. Lumping all different groups in one which you describe, mostly medieval
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 8, 2009
                It is easy to overlook the diversity of Christianity, even at its beginning.
                Lumping all different groups in one which you describe, mostly medieval
                Catholicism, commits at the least the logical fallacy of composition. It
                appears the violence of Catholicism began with the Roman Emperor Constantine
                appropriating the nascent religion into his unification program for the
                Empire. Thus the combination of religion with the State provided fertile
                ground to all kinds of abuses, both with people and with wealth. Throughout
                history State religions have caused these kinds of problems. Eastern
                religions have not been so inclined, and Islam has a long history of
                resistance to unification of religion with the State, based on recognition
                of abuses at times of such unification in their history. In Christianity,
                the beginnings of Protestantism brought cessation to most of those abuses.
                Perhaps judgment of Western religions, especially Christianity, should
                better begin with the Age of Enlightenment. The problems since then have
                been caused by what became called the Fundamentalists and the plenary
                literal interpretion of the Bible, but that form of Christianity gradually
                has been minimized, especially from the beginning of the 20th century, and
                most Fundies (Evangelicals) hold beliefs in countering violence in lieu of
                helping needy people, with a strong emphasis on universal love. The attacks
                on Christianity by Richard Dawkins in particular, and partially by others,
                have been directed at the Fundamentalists, in which he and others also
                lumped all Christianity. In criticisms and condemnations, it would be
                better to pick out the particular Christian groups, some of which have
                become cults, such as the Korish group in Waco, Texas, and the Falwell (dead
                now), Pat Robertson, and other televangelist Fundies.

                Richard.



                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Kirk Schwiebert" <schwbert_98@...>
                To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 11:30 AM
                Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                > What exactly makes Christianity one of the better options? It has,
                > over its 2000 year existence, pursued murder, warfare, and genocide
                > to impose its beliefs on others. It has, and continues to in many
                > circles, subjucated women. It has, and continues to in most of its
                > derivatives, mentally abused small children with fairy tales about
                > going to hell for simply having "impure" thoughts. In some cases it
                > has sanctioned and protected the physical abuse of children, even to
                > this day. Can all these things be said about Hinduism, Buddhism,
                > Judaism? Can any of these things be said about those 3 religions?
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Musser"
                > <gladflyweather@...> wrote:
                >>
                >> I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to religion,
                > in
                >> fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an
                >> inevitable reality for man, 2. I believe that Christianity is one
                > of
                >> the better options, 3. I believe it is possible to criticize
                >> Christianity without becoming obnoxious and giving atheists a bad
                > rap,
                >> 4. I believe atheists should criticize the worst manifestations of
                > any
                >> religion and use the best in any religion to challenge its
                > believers.
                >>
                >> My intent is not to create any antagonism, only to reason with
                > those
                >> who find this topic of interest. If we disagree, we can have a
                > good
                >> time trying to defend our positions.
                >>
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >


                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                5:59 PM
              • Clint
                I m sure you all have noticed good ol Dick always avoids the pertinent question, which is always the main topic, and nitpicks at the follow ups. Sure, it s
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 8, 2009
                  I'm sure you all have noticed good ol' Dick always avoids the pertinent
                  question, which is always the main topic, and nitpicks at the follow ups.

                  Sure, it's all love and joy to each other of the same denominations but
                  there's a lot of hatred being passed around to anyone different. That's
                  a fact. The degrees in which this hatred is carried out is what you try
                  shift focus to when who really cares. Hate is hate.

                  Why don't you just debate the question?

                  Richard Godwin wrote:
                  > It is easy to overlook the diversity of Christianity, even at its beginning.
                  > Lumping all different groups in one which you describe, mostly medieval
                  > Catholicism, commits at the least the logical fallacy of composition. It
                  > appears the violence of Catholicism began with the Roman Emperor Constantine
                  > appropriating the nascent religion into his unification program for the
                  > Empire. Thus the combination of religion with the State provided fertile
                  > ground to all kinds of abuses, both with people and with wealth. Throughout
                  > history State religions have caused these kinds of problems. Eastern
                  > religions have not been so inclined, and Islam has a long history of
                  > resistance to unification of religion with the State, based on recognition
                  > of abuses at times of such unification in their history. In Christianity,
                  > the beginnings of Protestantism brought cessation to most of those abuses.
                  > Perhaps judgment of Western religions, especially Christianity, should
                  > better begin with the Age of Enlightenment. The problems since then have
                  > been caused by what became called the Fundamentalists and the plenary
                  > literal interpretion of the Bible, but that form of Christianity gradually
                  > has been minimized, especially from the beginning of the 20th century, and
                  > most Fundies (Evangelicals) hold beliefs in countering violence in lieu of
                  > helping needy people, with a strong emphasis on universal love. The attacks
                  > on Christianity by Richard Dawkins in particular, and partially by others,
                  > have been directed at the Fundamentalists, in which he and others also
                  > lumped all Christianity. In criticisms and condemnations, it would be
                  > better to pick out the particular Christian groups, some of which have
                  > become cults, such as the Korish group in Waco, Texas, and the Falwell (dead
                  > now), Pat Robertson, and other televangelist Fundies.
                  >
                  > Richard.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From:
                  > To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                  >
                  >> What exactly makes Christianity one of the better options?
                • Richard Godwin
                  Clint you are really surprising. I suggest the hate is in your own mind. I gave a pretty complete explanation directly addressing the problem suggested. So
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 8, 2009
                    Clint you are really surprising. I suggest the hate is in your own mind. I
                    gave a pretty complete explanation directly addressing the problem
                    suggested. So why don't you offer some evidence of your assertion here!

                    Richard.


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Clint" <n1n31nchn3rd@...>
                    To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:56 PM
                    Subject: Re: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                    > I'm sure you all have noticed good ol' Dick always avoids the pertinent
                    > question, which is always the main topic, and nitpicks at the follow ups.
                    >
                    > Sure, it's all love and joy to each other of the same denominations but
                    > there's a lot of hatred being passed around to anyone different. That's
                    > a fact. The degrees in which this hatred is carried out is what you try
                    > shift focus to when who really cares. Hate is hate.
                    >
                    > Why don't you just debate the question?
                    >
                    > Richard Godwin wrote:
                    >> It is easy to overlook the diversity of Christianity, even at its
                    >> beginning.
                    >> Lumping all different groups in one which you describe, mostly medieval
                    >> Catholicism, commits at the least the logical fallacy of composition. It
                    >> appears the violence of Catholicism began with the Roman Emperor
                    >> Constantine
                    >> appropriating the nascent religion into his unification program for the
                    >> Empire. Thus the combination of religion with the State provided fertile
                    >> ground to all kinds of abuses, both with people and with wealth.
                    >> Throughout
                    >> history State religions have caused these kinds of problems. Eastern
                    >> religions have not been so inclined, and Islam has a long history of
                    >> resistance to unification of religion with the State, based on
                    >> recognition
                    >> of abuses at times of such unification in their history. In
                    >> Christianity,
                    >> the beginnings of Protestantism brought cessation to most of those
                    >> abuses.
                    >> Perhaps judgment of Western religions, especially Christianity, should
                    >> better begin with the Age of Enlightenment. The problems since then have
                    >> been caused by what became called the Fundamentalists and the plenary
                    >> literal interpretion of the Bible, but that form of Christianity
                    >> gradually
                    >> has been minimized, especially from the beginning of the 20th century,
                    >> and
                    >> most Fundies (Evangelicals) hold beliefs in countering violence in lieu
                    >> of
                    >> helping needy people, with a strong emphasis on universal love. The
                    >> attacks
                    >> on Christianity by Richard Dawkins in particular, and partially by
                    >> others,
                    >> have been directed at the Fundamentalists, in which he and others also
                    >> lumped all Christianity. In criticisms and condemnations, it would be
                    >> better to pick out the particular Christian groups, some of which have
                    >> become cults, such as the Korish group in Waco, Texas, and the Falwell
                    >> (dead
                    >> now), Pat Robertson, and other televangelist Fundies.
                    >>
                    >> Richard.
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >> ----- Original Message -----
                    >> From:
                    >> To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                    >>
                    >>> What exactly makes Christianity one of the better options?
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >


                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                    No virus found in this incoming message.
                    Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com
                    Version: 8.0.176 / Virus Database: 270.10.5/1881 - Release Date: 1/7/2009
                    5:59 PM
                  • Clint
                    ... I read it. You defend it quite well. So you agree that christianity is the better option?
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 8, 2009
                      Richard Godwin wrote:
                      > Clint you are really surprising. I suggest the hate is in your own mind. I
                      > gave a pretty complete explanation directly addressing the problem
                      > suggested. So why don't you offer some evidence of your assertion here!
                      >
                      > Richard.

                      I read it. You defend it quite well. So you agree that christianity is
                      the better option?
                    • kschwiebert@prodigy.net
                      The problem is that it is not just the Medieval Church who committed all these crimes. As I described in my prior post, we can trace this violent streak all
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                        The problem is that it is not just the Medieval Church who
                        committed all these crimes. As I described in my prior post, we can
                        trace this violent streak all the way through to modern times. Post
                        Enlightenment we witness the establishment of and Christian doctrinal
                        support of slavery. We see the same with the Christian zeal for
                        colonialism, forced conversion, and death to those who refuse. We see
                        witch trials in the 1600's and burning crosses in the 1960's.
                        Christianity has developed a malignancy which permits and subtley
                        encourages violence against and repression of non Christians. To say
                        it is less prevalent today is not a credit to Christian "diversity",
                        it is a credit to those who sought to limit its power over our lives.
                        Were the church's former powers restored we would surely see the same
                        behavior, and we do, in fact, in communities where it still is
                        allowed.
                        There is no such thing a "universal love" in a religion that
                        insists on its being right to the exclusion of all other faiths or
                        non believers. It can not be. There may be some derivative Christian
                        sects which try to square all this up, but most of their brtheren
                        would say that are not Christian at all.

                        --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > It is easy to overlook the diversity of Christianity, even at its
                        beginning.
                        > Lumping all different groups in one which you describe, mostly
                        medieval
                        > Catholicism, commits at the least the logical fallacy of
                        composition. It
                        > appears the violence of Catholicism began with the Roman Emperor
                        Constantine
                        > appropriating the nascent religion into his unification program for
                        the
                        > Empire. Thus the combination of religion with the State provided
                        fertile
                        > ground to all kinds of abuses, both with people and with wealth.
                        Throughout
                        > history State religions have caused these kinds of problems.
                        Eastern
                        > religions have not been so inclined, and Islam has a long history
                        of
                        > resistance to unification of religion with the State, based on
                        recognition
                        > of abuses at times of such unification in their history. In
                        Christianity,
                        > the beginnings of Protestantism brought cessation to most of those
                        abuses.
                        > Perhaps judgment of Western religions, especially Christianity,
                        should
                        > better begin with the Age of Enlightenment. The problems since
                        then have
                        > been caused by what became called the Fundamentalists and the
                        plenary
                        > literal interpretion of the Bible, but that form of Christianity
                        gradually
                        > has been minimized, especially from the beginning of the 20th
                        century, and
                        > most Fundies (Evangelicals) hold beliefs in countering violence in
                        lieu of
                        > helping needy people, with a strong emphasis on universal love.
                        The attacks
                        > on Christianity by Richard Dawkins in particular, and partially by
                        others,
                        > have been directed at the Fundamentalists, in which he and others
                        also
                        > lumped all Christianity. In criticisms and condemnations, it would
                        be
                        > better to pick out the particular Christian groups, some of which
                        have
                        > become cults, such as the Korish group in Waco, Texas, and the
                        Falwell (dead
                        > now), Pat Robertson, and other televangelist Fundies.
                        >
                        > Richard.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "Kirk Schwiebert" <schwbert_98@...>
                        > To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 11:30 AM
                        > Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction
                        >
                        >
                        > > What exactly makes Christianity one of the better options? It
                        has,
                        > > over its 2000 year existence, pursued murder, warfare, and
                        genocide
                        > > to impose its beliefs on others. It has, and continues to in many
                        > > circles, subjucated women. It has, and continues to in most of its
                        > > derivatives, mentally abused small children with fairy tales about
                        > > going to hell for simply having "impure" thoughts. In some cases
                        it
                        > > has sanctioned and protected the physical abuse of children, even
                        to
                        > > this day. Can all these things be said about Hinduism, Buddhism,
                        > > Judaism? Can any of these things be said about those 3 religions?
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Musser"
                        > > <gladflyweather@> wrote:
                        > >>
                        > >> I am an atheist, but I do not have any great antipathy to
                        religion,
                        > > in
                        > >> fact I am inclined to defend it because I believe religion is an
                        > >> inevitable reality for man, 2. I believe that Christianity is one
                        > > of
                        > >> the better options, 3. I believe it is possible to criticize
                        > >> Christianity without becoming obnoxious and giving atheists a bad
                        > > rap,
                        > >> 4. I believe atheists should criticize the worst manifestations
                        of
                        > > any
                        > >> religion and use the best in any religion to challenge its
                        > > believers.
                        > >>
                        > >> My intent is not to create any antagonism, only to reason with
                        > > those
                        > >> who find this topic of interest. If we disagree, we can have a
                        > > good
                        > >> time trying to defend our positions.
                        > >>
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > ------------------------------------
                        > >
                        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                        ------------
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > No virus found in this incoming message.
                        > Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com
                        > Version: 8.0.176 / Virus Database: 270.10.5/1881 - Release Date:
                        1/7/2009
                        > 5:59 PM
                        >
                      • Richard Godwin
                        No I don t. I don t think in terms of options and evaluating them. I find truth (not necessarily propositional truth) in all religions I have studied. I
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                          No I don't. I don't think in terms of options and evaluating them. I find
                          "truth" (not necessarily propositional truth) in all religions I have
                          studied. I do find the mystical elements of Christianity and Buddhism the
                          most fruitful. I strongly oppose all dogma and of course exclusivity.

                          Richard.


                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Clint" <n1n31nchn3rd@...>
                          To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 7:29 PM
                          Subject: Re: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                          > Richard Godwin wrote:
                          >> Clint you are really surprising. I suggest the hate is in your own mind.
                          >> I
                          >> gave a pretty complete explanation directly addressing the problem
                          >> suggested. So why don't you offer some evidence of your assertion here!
                          >>
                          >> Richard.
                          >
                          > I read it. You defend it quite well. So you agree that christianity is
                          > the better option?
                          >
                          > ------------------------------------
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >


                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          No virus found in this incoming message.
                          Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com
                          Version: 8.0.176 / Virus Database: 270.10.5/1883 - Release Date: 1/8/2009
                          6:05 PM
                        • Richard Godwin
                          ... From: kschwiebert@prodigy.net To: Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:52 AM Subject: [Death To
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                            Below please:

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "kschwiebert@..." <schwbert_98@...>
                            To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:52 AM
                            Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                            > The problem is that it is not just the Medieval Church who
                            > committed all these crimes. As I described in my prior post, we can
                            > trace this violent streak all the way through to modern times. Post
                            > Enlightenment we witness the establishment of and Christian doctrinal
                            > support of slavery.

                            ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.

                            We see the same with the Christian zeal for
                            > colonialism, forced conversion, and death to those who refuse. We see
                            > witch trials in the 1600's and burning crosses in the 1960's.

                            ---Where death to those who refuse? Of course, I did not indicate there was
                            no violence, etc. after the Enlightenment. Of course there was some. There
                            is a problem: many groups claim to be Christian, but were or are they
                            really? The Klu Klux Klan: was that a Christian organization?

                            > Christianity has developed a malignancy which permits and subtley
                            > encourages violence against and repression of non Christians. To say
                            > it is less prevalent today is not a credit to Christian "diversity",
                            > it is a credit to those who sought to limit its power over our lives.

                            --Again you make the mistake of lumping all so-called Christian groups you
                            despise to include all Christianity: composition fallacy. The power of all
                            religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to fade, and
                            that's good.

                            > Were the church's former powers restored we would surely see the same
                            > behavior, and we do, in fact, in communities where it still is
                            > allowed.

                            ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through some claim
                            of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit that. The
                            quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though religion
                            has been the primary source.

                            > There is no such thing a "universal love" in a religion that
                            > insists on its being right to the exclusion of all other faiths or
                            > non believers. It can not be. There may be some derivative Christian
                            > sects which try to square all this up, but most of their brtheren
                            > would say that are not Christian at all.

                            ---Again fallacy of composition. Christianity is on the way to reject
                            exclusivity.

                            Richard.
                            >
                          • kschwiebert@prodigy.net
                            Now you-below please ... can ... Post ... doctrinal ... were universally supported. Actually, not a good example for them, or your counterpoint. Christians
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                              Now you-below please

                              --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > Below please:
                              >
                              > ----- Original Message -----
                              > From: "kschwiebert@..." <schwbert_98@...>
                              > To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                              > Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:52 AM
                              > Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction
                              >
                              >
                              > > The problem is that it is not just the Medieval Church who
                              > > committed all these crimes. As I described in my prior post, we
                              can
                              > > trace this violent streak all the way through to modern times.
                              Post
                              > > Enlightenment we witness the establishment of and Christian
                              doctrinal
                              > > support of slavery.
                              >
                              > ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.

                              ---Christianity is supposed to be a departure from bad ideas which
                              were "universally" supported. Actually, not a good example for them,
                              or your counterpoint. Christians claim a higher standard, then revert
                              to the staus quo for cover when it suits them. Women's Rights, Black
                              Civil Rights, Interracial Marraige, and now Gay Rights. Shouldn't the
                              Christian community have been behind these human rights 100%? I know
                              many Christians were supportive, but if they were adherents of Jesus
                              and not just admirers, it would have been all Christians, not just
                              some.
                              >
                              > We see the same with the Christian zeal for
                              > > colonialism, forced conversion, and death to those who refuse. We
                              see
                              > > witch trials in the 1600's and burning crosses in the 1960's.
                              >
                              > ---Where death to those who refuse? Of course, I did not indicate
                              there was
                              > no violence, etc. after the Enlightenment. Of course there was
                              some. There
                              > is a problem: many groups claim to be Christian, but were or are
                              they
                              > really? The Klu Klux Klan: was that a Christian organization?

                              >>>>Many, many historical examples of "heathens" who were either
                              forced to convert or put to the sword. When that became out of vogue,
                              they were starved or given small-pox infected blankets like the
                              Native Americans from the 1860's-1890's. Today, our own Air Force is
                              corrupted by the undue influence of evangelicals. One high ranking
                              officer was quoted in Iraq as saying "I know my God is stronger than
                              their God." Really, really defective thinking. Now non evangelicals
                              are being harrassed at the Air Force Academy (google it). Is Iraq
                              current enough?
                              The Klan only allows Christians in its ranks, correct? They conflate
                              Christianity with White Supremacy using a twisted interpretation of
                              some Bronze Age scriptures. No they are not a Christian organization
                              per se.
                              >
                              > > Christianity has developed a malignancy which permits and subtley
                              > > encourages violence against and repression of non Christians. To
                              say
                              > > it is less prevalent today is not a credit to
                              Christian "diversity",
                              > > it is a credit to those who sought to limit its power over our
                              lives.
                              >
                              > --Again you make the mistake of lumping all so-called Christian
                              groups you
                              > despise to include all Christianity: composition fallacy. The
                              power of all
                              > religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to fade,
                              and
                              > that's good.

                              >>>My point needs to be clarified. I realize there are many open
                              minded Christians. I was raised a Methodist and was a practicing one.
                              I am nearly 50 years old. The trouble arises when the Church is given
                              political power and the activist evangelical wing gains the
                              influence, because they are more motivated. When they do, the open
                              minded Christians are influenced, brain washed, or pressured into
                              more extreme positions. We see this in many cases such as Nazi
                              Germany and China during the Cultural Revolution. Moderate,
                              reasonable people are controlled by a fanatical minority. This
                              fanatical minority is not subject to reason, and whether it be
                              National Socialism, Communism, or Christianity, it will soon lead to
                              extremism. Just look at the US Republican Party for a domestic
                              example, look at Israel, look at Palestine, Iran.
                              >
                              > > Were the church's former powers restored we would surely see the
                              same
                              > > behavior, and we do, in fact, in communities where it still is
                              > > allowed.
                              >
                              > ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through
                              some claim
                              > of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit
                              that. The
                              > quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though
                              religion
                              > has been the primary source.

                              >>>>Not speculation. I am sure you are familiar with the tests
                              involving college students where one select group is given authority
                              over another, based on hair color or some other arbitrary
                              characteristic (like believing in the right god). The group in power
                              slowly but surely becomes oppressive and abusive towards the other.
                              It is human nature. The tribalism and exclusionary aspects of
                              Christianity especially bring this behavior out. Again, this is not
                              speculation, it is based on scientific fact.
                              Further, we allow Christian Scientists to refuse their children
                              medical care in the interest of freedom of religion. Looks like The
                              State still has some work to do.
                              >
                              > > There is no such thing a "universal love" in a religion that
                              > > insists on its being right to the exclusion of all other faiths or
                              > > non believers. It can not be. There may be some derivative
                              Christian
                              > > sects which try to square all this up, but most of their bretheren
                              > > would say that are not Christian at all.
                              >
                              > ---Again fallacy of composition. Christianity is on the way to
                              reject
                              > exclusivity.

                              Now Richard, this statement seems like speculation to me. Why do you
                              say that? Is the Catholic Church ready for a merger with the Greek
                              Orthodox? Do we see fewer and fewer evangelical TV preachers,
                              collecting fewer and fewer dollars for new satellites and 737's?
                              Sarah Palin was just nominated for VP, for crying out loud. She is
                              maybe the most radical evangelical charismatic dispensationalist ever
                              to have run for VP or POTUS. These people never take a day off. They
                              will never be satisfied.
                              We need to call them out and be just as vigilant in protecting our
                              secular prerogatives. Apologizing for them is not helpful.
                              >
                              > Richard.
                              > >
                              >
                            • Clint
                              ... That s an odd choice of words. I don t think the majority of the population, who incidentally fell into slavery, supported it. ... That s not what I read.
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                Richard Godwin wrote:
                                > ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.

                                That's an odd choice of words. I don't think the majority of the
                                population, who incidentally fell into slavery, supported it.

                                > The power of all
                                > religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to fade, and
                                > that's good.

                                That's not what I read. In fact, islam is spreading like a disease. "New
                                age" religions as well as old religions like paganism and wicca for
                                example are growing as well. More and more religions are taking grip.
                                Seems to me christianity is the only one on the decline... in the US and
                                Europe.

                                > ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through some claim
                                > of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit that. The
                                > quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though religion
                                > has been the primary source.

                                The church doesn't rule like it used to here. It's influence is on the
                                decline. And need I remind you this is mainly just in America and
                                Europe. Religion still holds well in other nations. State end federal
                                laws prevent the church from basically doing much of anything nowadays.
                                That's why they now try to get into power through politics and public
                                teaching positions which they haven't held in a long time. In most other
                                nations, religious fanatics are still in those positions and is why
                                people like you claim that it's the fault of government or whatever and
                                not religion.

                                > Christianity is on the way to reject
                                > exclusivity.
                                >
                                > Richard.

                                Very little do I agree you. This is one of those rare moments you
                                actually state a true fact... well, statistically speaking anyway... lol.
                              • Clint
                                ... Fair enough, I suppose. I oppose religion as well but I think that for the sake of the argument even I could pick out a religion that s better suited than
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                  Richard Godwin wrote:
                                  > No I don't. I don't think in terms of options and evaluating them. I find
                                  > "truth" (not necessarily propositional truth) in all religions I have
                                  > studied. I do find the mystical elements of Christianity and Buddhism the
                                  > most fruitful. I strongly oppose all dogma and of course exclusivity.
                                  >
                                  > Richard.


                                  Fair enough, I suppose. I oppose religion as well but I think that for
                                  the sake of the argument even I could pick out a religion that's better
                                  suited than the others. It's just a simple question. By answering it,
                                  doesn't mean you support religion. It's no different than if you'd
                                  rather ride a bike and someone asks you what car looks better. Lighten
                                  up, eh?
                                • kschwiebert@prodigy.net
                                  The only reason religion may be on the decline in Europe and the US is that secular people, who believe in science, reason, and the law, fought and died to
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                    The only reason religion may be on the decline in Europe and the US
                                    is that secular people, who believe in science, reason, and the law,
                                    fought and died to re-make their governments. We broke the long
                                    standing conspiracy between the church and the royalty with the last
                                    major fight being in Russia with the Communist Revolution. The
                                    Christian heirarchy did not simply give up their power and they seek
                                    to have it restored someday, as they believe it is god's will. As
                                    Mike Huckabee said on the campaign trail in 2008. "We need a
                                    Constitution based on God's Law." That is their goal, make no
                                    mistake.




                                    --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, Clint <n1n31nchn3rd@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Richard Godwin wrote:
                                    > > ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.
                                    >
                                    > That's an odd choice of words. I don't think the majority of the
                                    > population, who incidentally fell into slavery, supported it.
                                    >
                                    > > The power of all
                                    > > religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to
                                    fade, and
                                    > > that's good.
                                    >
                                    > That's not what I read. In fact, islam is spreading like a
                                    disease. "New
                                    > age" religions as well as old religions like paganism and wicca for
                                    > example are growing as well. More and more religions are taking
                                    grip.
                                    > Seems to me christianity is the only one on the decline... in the
                                    US and
                                    > Europe.
                                    >
                                    > > ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through
                                    some claim
                                    > > of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit
                                    that. The
                                    > > quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though
                                    religion
                                    > > has been the primary source.
                                    >
                                    > The church doesn't rule like it used to here. It's influence is on
                                    the
                                    > decline. And need I remind you this is mainly just in America and
                                    > Europe. Religion still holds well in other nations. State end
                                    federal
                                    > laws prevent the church from basically doing much of anything
                                    nowadays.
                                    > That's why they now try to get into power through politics and
                                    public
                                    > teaching positions which they haven't held in a long time. In most
                                    other
                                    > nations, religious fanatics are still in those positions and is why
                                    > people like you claim that it's the fault of government or whatever
                                    and
                                    > not religion.
                                    >
                                    > > Christianity is on the way to reject
                                    > > exclusivity.
                                    > >
                                    > > Richard.
                                    >
                                    > Very little do I agree you. This is one of those rare moments you
                                    > actually state a true fact... well, statistically speaking
                                    anyway... lol.
                                    >
                                  • Richard Godwin
                                    and again ... From: kschwiebert@prodigy.net To: Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 12:25 PM Subject:
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                      and again

                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      From: "kschwiebert@..." <schwbert_98@...>
                                      To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                                      Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 12:25 PM
                                      Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                                      > Now you-below please
                                      >
                                      > --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...>
                                      > wrote:
                                      >>
                                      >> Below please:
                                      >>
                                      >> ----- Original Message -----
                                      >> From: "kschwiebert@..." <schwbert_98@...>
                                      >> To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                                      >> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:52 AM
                                      >> Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction
                                      >>
                                      >>
                                      >> > The problem is that it is not just the Medieval Church who
                                      >> > committed all these crimes. As I described in my prior post, we
                                      > can
                                      >> > trace this violent streak all the way through to modern times.
                                      > Post
                                      >> > Enlightenment we witness the establishment of and Christian
                                      > doctrinal
                                      >> > support of slavery.
                                      >>
                                      >> ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.
                                      >
                                      > ---Christianity is supposed to be a departure from bad ideas which
                                      > were "universally" supported. Actually, not a good example for them,
                                      > or your counterpoint. Christians claim a higher standard, then revert
                                      > to the staus quo for cover when it suits them. Women's Rights, Black
                                      > Civil Rights, Interracial Marraige, and now Gay Rights. Shouldn't the
                                      > Christian community have been behind these human rights 100%? I know
                                      > many Christians were supportive, but if they were adherents of Jesus
                                      > and not just admirers, it would have been all Christians, not just
                                      > some.

                                      ====Where do you get your idea of "supposed to be"? Where do your get your
                                      idea of "from bad ideas"?--and where for universally supported?--and why
                                      universally in quote marks? What is the "higher standard"?--do you mean
                                      morality, or salvation, or what? What "status quo"?--do you mean "pagan
                                      ways" or something like that? Many Christians do support those rights etc.
                                      What group of any sort ever has had such 100% unanimity? Religions don't
                                      work that way--all not just some, never have worked that way. So would that
                                      negate any value to religion?

                                      >>
                                      >> We see the same with the Christian zeal for
                                      >> > colonialism, forced conversion, and death to those who refuse. We
                                      > see
                                      >> > witch trials in the 1600's and burning crosses in the 1960's.
                                      >>
                                      >> ---Where death to those who refuse? Of course, I did not indicate
                                      > there was
                                      >> no violence, etc. after the Enlightenment. Of course there was
                                      > some. There
                                      >> is a problem: many groups claim to be Christian, but were or are
                                      > they
                                      >> really? The Klu Klux Klan: was that a Christian organization?
                                      >
                                      >>>>>Many, many historical examples of "heathens" who were either
                                      > forced to convert or put to the sword. When that became out of vogue,
                                      > they were starved or given small-pox infected blankets like the
                                      > Native Americans from the 1860's-1890's. Today, our own Air Force is
                                      > corrupted by the undue influence of evangelicals. One high ranking
                                      > officer was quoted in Iraq as saying "I know my God is stronger than
                                      > their God." Really, really defective thinking. Now non evangelicals
                                      > are being harrassed at the Air Force Academy (google it). Is Iraq
                                      > current enough?
                                      > The Klan only allows Christians in its ranks, correct? They conflate
                                      > Christianity with White Supremacy using a twisted interpretation of
                                      > some Bronze Age scriptures. No they are not a Christian organization
                                      > per se.

                                      ====Many, many forced conversions after Age of Enlightment: for example?
                                      You have no example? Yes those Native Americans killed a lot of white eyes
                                      who killed a lot of them. Again, of course many groups use religion, like
                                      Christianity, to support their bad activities. You lump all Air Force into
                                      those very few, as corrupted? Harassment goes all ways, but hardly
                                      indicative of a whole group. So what Bronze Age scriptures--none of the
                                      Bible was composed before Persian or Hellenistic times, and that's after
                                      Iron Age.

                                      >>
                                      >> > Christianity has developed a malignancy which permits and subtley
                                      >> > encourages violence against and repression of non Christians. To
                                      > say
                                      >> > it is less prevalent today is not a credit to
                                      > Christian "diversity",
                                      >> > it is a credit to those who sought to limit its power over our
                                      > lives.
                                      >>
                                      >> --Again you make the mistake of lumping all so-called Christian
                                      > groups you
                                      >> despise to include all Christianity: composition fallacy. The
                                      > power of all
                                      >> religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to fade,
                                      > and
                                      >> that's good.
                                      >
                                      >>>>My point needs to be clarified. I realize there are many open
                                      > minded Christians. I was raised a Methodist and was a practicing one.
                                      > I am nearly 50 years old. The trouble arises when the Church is given
                                      > political power and the activist evangelical wing gains the
                                      > influence, because they are more motivated. When they do, the open
                                      > minded Christians are influenced, brain washed, or pressured into
                                      > more extreme positions. We see this in many cases such as Nazi
                                      > Germany and China during the Cultural Revolution. Moderate,
                                      > reasonable people are controlled by a fanatical minority. This
                                      > fanatical minority is not subject to reason, and whether it be
                                      > National Socialism, Communism, or Christianity, it will soon lead to
                                      > extremism. Just look at the US Republican Party for a domestic
                                      > example, look at Israel, look at Palestine, Iran.

                                      ====Surely I agree that power corrupts. I also agree to religious brain
                                      washing and I abhor that too, especially when involving kids. And I
                                      certainly oppose extremism, which should be stamped out through education.
                                      And on and on.

                                      >>
                                      >> > Were the church's former powers restored we would surely see the
                                      > same
                                      >> > behavior, and we do, in fact, in communities where it still is
                                      >> > allowed.
                                      >>
                                      >> ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through
                                      > some claim
                                      >> of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit
                                      > that. The
                                      >> quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though
                                      > religion
                                      >> has been the primary source.
                                      >
                                      >>>>>Not speculation. I am sure you are familiar with the tests
                                      > involving college students where one select group is given authority
                                      > over another, based on hair color or some other arbitrary
                                      > characteristic (like believing in the right god). The group in power
                                      > slowly but surely becomes oppressive and abusive towards the other.
                                      > It is human nature. The tribalism and exclusionary aspects of
                                      > Christianity especially bring this behavior out. Again, this is not
                                      > speculation, it is based on scientific fact.
                                      > Further, we allow Christian Scientists to refuse their children
                                      > medical care in the interest of freedom of religion. Looks like The
                                      > State still has some work to do.

                                      Yes I am familiar with those tests concerning authority--seems to be in
                                      human nature. I doubt Christianity is more liable to that.

                                      >>
                                      >> > There is no such thing a "universal love" in a religion that
                                      >> > insists on its being right to the exclusion of all other faiths or
                                      >> > non believers. It can not be. There may be some derivative
                                      > Christian
                                      >> > sects which try to square all this up, but most of their bretheren
                                      >> > would say that are not Christian at all.
                                      >>
                                      >> ---Again fallacy of composition. Christianity is on the way to
                                      > reject
                                      >> exclusivity.
                                      >
                                      > Now Richard, this statement seems like speculation to me. Why do you
                                      > say that? Is the Catholic Church ready for a merger with the Greek
                                      > Orthodox? Do we see fewer and fewer evangelical TV preachers,
                                      > collecting fewer and fewer dollars for new satellites and 737's?
                                      > Sarah Palin was just nominated for VP, for crying out loud. She is
                                      > maybe the most radical evangelical charismatic dispensationalist ever
                                      > to have run for VP or POTUS. These people never take a day off. They
                                      > will never be satisfied.
                                      > We need to call them out and be just as vigilant in protecting our
                                      > secular prerogatives. Apologizing for them is not helpful.

                                      ====Google Diana Eck at Harvard University and her Pluralism program, to get
                                      interaction and cooperation among different religions and Christian sects.
                                      As long as they can make millions of money, those televangelists will keep
                                      going, and more will rise--a huge scam. You are wrong in thinking I am
                                      apologizing for bad Christians or of any other religion. I'm just trying to
                                      emphasize the facts and counter lumping some bad activities to all
                                      activities. I criticize religion about as much as any, and I side mostly
                                      with Richand Dawkins, but I lean more to Dan Dennett, also an atheist.
                                      Basically I argue against organized religion, but the problem is that
                                      religion requires organization.
                                      >>
                                      >> Richard.
                                      >> >
                                      >>
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ------------------------------------
                                      >
                                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >


                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                                      6:05 PM
                                    • Richard Godwin
                                      and again ... From: Clint To: Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:39 PM Subject: Re: [Death To
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                        and again
                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        From: "Clint" <n1n31nchn3rd@...>
                                        To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                                        Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:39 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                                        > Richard Godwin wrote:
                                        >> ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.
                                        >
                                        > That's an odd choice of words. I don't think the majority of the
                                        > population, who incidentally fell into slavery, supported it.

                                        Ha, good point, never thought of that! But probably not relevant.

                                        >
                                        >> The power of all
                                        >> religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to fade, and
                                        >> that's good.
                                        >
                                        > That's not what I read. In fact, islam is spreading like a disease. "New
                                        > age" religions as well as old religions like paganism and wicca for
                                        > example are growing as well. More and more religions are taking grip.
                                        > Seems to me christianity is the only one on the decline... in the US and
                                        > Europe.

                                        Yes, you're right about Islam. Christianity is changing and has been for
                                        some time, abandoning Fundamentalist ideas.

                                        >
                                        >> ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through some
                                        >> claim
                                        >> of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit that. The
                                        >> quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though religion
                                        >> has been the primary source.
                                        >
                                        > The church doesn't rule like it used to here. It's influence is on the
                                        > decline. And need I remind you this is mainly just in America and
                                        > Europe. Religion still holds well in other nations. State end federal
                                        > laws prevent the church from basically doing much of anything nowadays.
                                        > That's why they now try to get into power through politics and public
                                        > teaching positions which they haven't held in a long time. In most other
                                        > nations, religious fanatics are still in those positions and is why
                                        > people like you claim that it's the fault of government or whatever and
                                        > not religion.

                                        ===People like me? I never said anything like that anyway. I am critical
                                        of religion, not the government.
                                        >
                                        >> Christianity is on the way to reject
                                        >> exclusivity.
                                        >>
                                        >> Richard.
                                        >
                                        > Very little do I agree you. This is one of those rare moments you
                                        > actually state a true fact... well, statistically speaking anyway... lol.
                                        >
                                        > ------------------------------------
                                        >
                                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >


                                        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                                        6:05 PM
                                      • Richard Godwin
                                        Here is an article that appeared recently in NY Times (good religion can be good for you): December 30, 2008 Findings For Good Self-Control, Try Getting
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                          Here is an article that appeared recently in NY Times (good religion can be
                                          good for you):

                                          December 30, 2008
                                          Findings

                                          For Good Self-Control, Try Getting Religious About It

                                          By JOHN TIERNEY

                                          If I'm serious about keeping my New Year's resolutions in 2009, should I add
                                          another one? Should the to-do list include, "Start going to church"?
                                          This is an awkward question for a heathen to contemplate, but I felt obliged
                                          to raise it with Michael McCullough after reading his report in the upcoming
                                          issue of the Psychological Bulletin. He and a fellow psychologist at the
                                          University of Miami, Brian Willoughby, have reviewed eight decades of
                                          research and concluded that religious belief and piety promote self-control.

                                          This sounded to me uncomfortably similar to the conclusion of the nuns who
                                          taught me in grade school, but Dr. McCullough has no evangelical motives. He
                                          confesses to not being much of a devotee himself. "When it comes to
                                          religion," he said, "professionally, I'm a fan, but personally, I don't get
                                          down on the field much."

                                          His professional interest arose from a desire to understand why religion
                                          evolved and why it seems to help so many people. Researchers around the
                                          world have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people tend to do better
                                          in school, live longer, have more satisfying marriages and be generally
                                          happier.
                                          These results have been ascribed to the rules imposed on believers and to
                                          the social support they receive from fellow worshipers, but these external
                                          factors didn't account for all the benefits. In the new paper, the Miami
                                          psychologists surveyed the literature to test the proposition that religion
                                          gives people internal strength.
                                          "We simply asked if there was good evidence that people who are more
                                          religious have more self-control," Dr. McCullough. "For a long time it wasn't
                                          cool for social scientists to study religion, but some researchers were
                                          quietly chugging along for decades. When you add it all up, it turns out
                                          there are remarkably consistent findings that religiosity correlates with
                                          higher self-control."

                                          As early as the 1920s, researchers found that students who spent more time
                                          in Sunday school did better at laboratory tests measuring their
                                          self-discipline. Subsequent studies showed that religiously devout children
                                          were rated relatively low in impulsiveness by both parents and teachers, and
                                          that religiosity repeatedly correlated with higher self-control among
                                          adults. Devout people were found to be more likely than others to wear seat
                                          belts, go to the dentist and take vitamins.
                                          But which came first, the religious devotion or the self-control? It takes
                                          self-discipline to sit through Sunday school or services at a temple or
                                          mosque, so people who start out with low self-control are presumably less
                                          likely to keep attending. But even after taking that self-selection bias
                                          into account, Dr. McCullough said there is still reason to believe that
                                          religion has a strong influence.

                                          "Brain-scan studies have shown that when people pray or meditate, there's a
                                          lot of activity in two parts of brain that are important for self-regulation
                                          and control of attention and emotion," he said. "The rituals that religions
                                          have been encouraging for thousands of years seem to be a kind of anaerobic
                                          workout for self-control."
                                          In a study published by the University of Maryland in 2003, students who
                                          were subliminally exposed to religious words (like God, prayer or bible)
                                          were slower to recognize words associated with temptations (like drugs or
                                          premarital sex). Conversely, when they were primed with the temptation
                                          words, they were quicker to recognize the religious words.

                                          "It looks as if people come to associate religion with tamping down these
                                          temptations," Dr. McCullough said. "When temptations cross their minds in
                                          daily life, they quickly use religion to dispel them from their minds."

                                          In one personality study, strongly religious people were compared with
                                          people who subscribed to more general spiritual notions, like the idea that
                                          their lives were "directed by a spiritual force greater than any human
                                          being" or that they felt "a spiritual connection to other people." The
                                          religious people scored relatively high in conscientiousness and
                                          self-control, whereas the spiritual people tended to score relatively low.

                                          "Thinking about the oneness of humanity and the unity of nature doesn't seem
                                          to be related to self-control," Dr. McCullough said. "The self-control
                                          effect seems to come from being engaged in religious institutions and
                                          behaviors."

                                          Does this mean that nonbelievers like me should start going to church? Even
                                          if you don't believe in a supernatural god, you could try improving your
                                          self-control by at least going along with the rituals of organized religion.

                                          But that probably wouldn't work either, Dr. McCullough told me, because
                                          personality studies have identified a difference between true believers and
                                          others who attend services for extrinsic reasons, like wanting to impress
                                          people or make social connections. The intrinsically religious people have
                                          higher self-control, but the extrinsically religious do not.

                                          So what's a heathen to do in 2009? Dr. McCullough's advice is to try
                                          replicating some of the religious mechanisms that seem to improve
                                          self-control, like private meditation or public involvement with an
                                          organization that has strong ideals.

                                          Religious people, he said, are self-controlled not simply because they fear
                                          God's wrath, but because they've absorbed the ideals of their religion into
                                          their own system of values, and have thereby given their personal goals an
                                          aura of sacredness. He suggested that nonbelievers try a secular version of
                                          that strategy.
                                          "People can have sacred values that aren't religious values," he said.
                                          "Self-reliance might be a sacred value to you that's relevant to saving
                                          money. Concern for others might be a sacred value that's relevant to taking
                                          time to do volunteer work. You can spend time thinking about what values are
                                          sacred to you and making New Year's resolutions that are consistent with
                                          them."

                                          Of course, it requires some self-control to carry out that exercise - and
                                          maybe more effort than it takes to go to church.
                                          "Sacred values come prefabricated for religious believers," Dr. McCullough
                                          said. "The belief that God has preferences for how you behave and the goals
                                          you set for yourself has to be the granddaddy of all psychological devices
                                          for encouraging people to follow through with their goals. That may help to
                                          explain why belief in God has been so persistent through the ages."




                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: "Clint" <n1n31nchn3rd@...>
                                          To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:51 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction


                                          > Richard Godwin wrote:
                                          >> No I don't. I don't think in terms of options and evaluating them. I
                                          >> find
                                          >> "truth" (not necessarily propositional truth) in all religions I have
                                          >> studied. I do find the mystical elements of Christianity and Buddhism
                                          >> the
                                          >> most fruitful. I strongly oppose all dogma and of course exclusivity.
                                          >>
                                          >> Richard.
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Fair enough, I suppose. I oppose religion as well but I think that for
                                          > the sake of the argument even I could pick out a religion that's better
                                          > suited than the others. It's just a simple question. By answering it,
                                          > doesn't mean you support religion. It's no different than if you'd
                                          > rather ride a bike and someone asks you what car looks better. Lighten
                                          > up, eh?
                                          >
                                          > ------------------------------------
                                          >
                                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >


                                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                                        • kschwiebert@prodigy.net
                                          Your orginal point, which spawned all of this dialogue, was that Christianity was one of the better options and that atheists should use the best in any
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Jan 9, 2009
                                            Your orginal point, which spawned all of this dialogue, was that
                                            Christianity was "one of the better options" and that atheists should
                                            use the "best in any religion to challenge its believers". My
                                            question is, and was originally, why is Christianity one of the
                                            better options? For this assertion to be valid there must be some
                                            special characteristics about it which make it "better" than other
                                            religions as you implied. I am still waiting for an answer on that.
                                            I have tried to point out that Christianity is in fact one of the
                                            worst options for several reasons.
                                            1. Exclusivity-only the "saved" are worthy of god's mythical afterlife
                                            2. Conversion-most Christians believe that all of us need to be
                                            converted, and our souls are damned if we are not. This streak is not
                                            common to all or most other faiths, and it allows adherents to see
                                            non believers as less human, less worthy of compassion
                                            3. The status of women in the Catholic Church especially, the
                                            treatment of minorities until recent history, and the treatment of
                                            gays even today, the treatment of children mentally (all) and
                                            physically (too many)
                                            Again, I ask, what unique, paradigm changing, breakthrough
                                            philosophy has Christianity given us which did not exist or could not
                                            exist without its influence? Stack whatever that sliver is against
                                            the profound evil which Christianity has been used to prop up, or
                                            which the church itself is responsible for.

                                            PS-the Air Force thing is no trivial matter. It goes to the top of
                                            the organization and if you think having folks who believe in The End
                                            Times in charge nuclear weapons (and eager to see the Rapture)is a
                                            small matter, well you are entitled to your opinion.


                                            --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >
                                            > and again
                                            >
                                            > ----- Original Message -----
                                            > From: "kschwiebert@..." <schwbert_98@...>
                                            > To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                                            > Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 12:25 PM
                                            > Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > > Now you-below please
                                            > >
                                            > > --- In deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Godwin" <meta@>
                                            > > wrote:
                                            > >>
                                            > >> Below please:
                                            > >>
                                            > >> ----- Original Message -----
                                            > >> From: "kschwiebert@" <schwbert_98@>
                                            > >> To: <deathtoreligion@yahoogroups.com>
                                            > >> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 2:52 AM
                                            > >> Subject: [Death To Religion] Re: Introduction
                                            > >>
                                            > >>
                                            > >> > The problem is that it is not just the Medieval Church who
                                            > >> > committed all these crimes. As I described in my prior post, we
                                            > > can
                                            > >> > trace this violent streak all the way through to modern times.
                                            > > Post
                                            > >> > Enlightenment we witness the establishment of and Christian
                                            > > doctrinal
                                            > >> > support of slavery.
                                            > >>
                                            > >> ---Slavery was universally supported, not a good example for you.
                                            > >
                                            > > ---Christianity is supposed to be a departure from bad ideas which
                                            > > were "universally" supported. Actually, not a good example for
                                            them,
                                            > > or your counterpoint. Christians claim a higher standard, then
                                            revert
                                            > > to the staus quo for cover when it suits them. Women's Rights,
                                            Black
                                            > > Civil Rights, Interracial Marraige, and now Gay Rights. Shouldn't
                                            the
                                            > > Christian community have been behind these human rights 100%? I
                                            know
                                            > > many Christians were supportive, but if they were adherents of
                                            Jesus
                                            > > and not just admirers, it would have been all Christians, not just
                                            > > some.
                                            >
                                            > ====Where do you get your idea of "supposed to be"? Where do your
                                            get your
                                            > idea of "from bad ideas"?--and where for universally supported?--
                                            and why
                                            > universally in quote marks? What is the "higher standard"?--do you
                                            mean
                                            > morality, or salvation, or what? What "status quo"?--do you
                                            mean "pagan
                                            > ways" or something like that? Many Christians do support those
                                            rights etc.
                                            > What group of any sort ever has had such 100% unanimity? Religions
                                            don't
                                            > work that way--all not just some, never have worked that way. So
                                            would that
                                            > negate any value to religion?
                                            >
                                            > >>
                                            > >> We see the same with the Christian zeal for
                                            > >> > colonialism, forced conversion, and death to those who refuse.
                                            We
                                            > > see
                                            > >> > witch trials in the 1600's and burning crosses in the 1960's.
                                            > >>
                                            > >> ---Where death to those who refuse? Of course, I did not
                                            indicate
                                            > > there was
                                            > >> no violence, etc. after the Enlightenment. Of course there was
                                            > > some. There
                                            > >> is a problem: many groups claim to be Christian, but were or are
                                            > > they
                                            > >> really? The Klu Klux Klan: was that a Christian organization?
                                            > >
                                            > >>>>>Many, many historical examples of "heathens" who were either
                                            > > forced to convert or put to the sword. When that became out of
                                            vogue,
                                            > > they were starved or given small-pox infected blankets like the
                                            > > Native Americans from the 1860's-1890's. Today, our own Air Force
                                            is
                                            > > corrupted by the undue influence of evangelicals. One high ranking
                                            > > officer was quoted in Iraq as saying "I know my God is stronger
                                            than
                                            > > their God." Really, really defective thinking. Now non
                                            evangelicals
                                            > > are being harrassed at the Air Force Academy (google it). Is Iraq
                                            > > current enough?
                                            > > The Klan only allows Christians in its ranks, correct? They
                                            conflate
                                            > > Christianity with White Supremacy using a twisted interpretation
                                            of
                                            > > some Bronze Age scriptures. No they are not a Christian
                                            organization
                                            > > per se.
                                            >
                                            > ====Many, many forced conversions after Age of Enlightment: for
                                            example?
                                            > You have no example? Yes those Native Americans killed a lot of
                                            white eyes
                                            > who killed a lot of them. Again, of course many groups use
                                            religion, like
                                            > Christianity, to support their bad activities. You lump all Air
                                            Force into
                                            > those very few, as corrupted? Harassment goes all ways, but hardly
                                            > indicative of a whole group. So what Bronze Age scriptures--none of
                                            the
                                            > Bible was composed before Persian or Hellenistic times, and that's
                                            after
                                            > Iron Age.
                                            >
                                            > >>
                                            > >> > Christianity has developed a malignancy which permits and
                                            subtley
                                            > >> > encourages violence against and repression of non Christians.
                                            To
                                            > > say
                                            > >> > it is less prevalent today is not a credit to
                                            > > Christian "diversity",
                                            > >> > it is a credit to those who sought to limit its power over our
                                            > > lives.
                                            > >>
                                            > >> --Again you make the mistake of lumping all so-called Christian
                                            > > groups you
                                            > >> despise to include all Christianity: composition fallacy. The
                                            > > power of all
                                            > >> religions has been fading over recent times, and continues to
                                            fade,
                                            > > and
                                            > >> that's good.
                                            > >
                                            > >>>>My point needs to be clarified. I realize there are many open
                                            > > minded Christians. I was raised a Methodist and was a practicing
                                            one.
                                            > > I am nearly 50 years old. The trouble arises when the Church is
                                            given
                                            > > political power and the activist evangelical wing gains the
                                            > > influence, because they are more motivated. When they do, the open
                                            > > minded Christians are influenced, brain washed, or pressured into
                                            > > more extreme positions. We see this in many cases such as Nazi
                                            > > Germany and China during the Cultural Revolution. Moderate,
                                            > > reasonable people are controlled by a fanatical minority. This
                                            > > fanatical minority is not subject to reason, and whether it be
                                            > > National Socialism, Communism, or Christianity, it will soon lead
                                            to
                                            > > extremism. Just look at the US Republican Party for a domestic
                                            > > example, look at Israel, look at Palestine, Iran.
                                            >
                                            > ====Surely I agree that power corrupts. I also agree to religious
                                            brain
                                            > washing and I abhor that too, especially when involving kids. And
                                            I
                                            > certainly oppose extremism, which should be stamped out through
                                            education.
                                            > And on and on.
                                            >
                                            > >>
                                            > >> > Were the church's former powers restored we would surely see
                                            the
                                            > > same
                                            > >> > behavior, and we do, in fact, in communities where it still is
                                            > >> > allowed.
                                            > >>
                                            > >> ----Pure speculation. But yes, for those who harm others through
                                            > > some claim
                                            > >> of any religion, we have the laws of the State which prohibit
                                            > > that. The
                                            > >> quest for power over others is not only in religion, even though
                                            > > religion
                                            > >> has been the primary source.
                                            > >
                                            > >>>>>Not speculation. I am sure you are familiar with the tests
                                            > > involving college students where one select group is given
                                            authority
                                            > > over another, based on hair color or some other arbitrary
                                            > > characteristic (like believing in the right god). The group in
                                            power
                                            > > slowly but surely becomes oppressive and abusive towards the
                                            other.
                                            > > It is human nature. The tribalism and exclusionary aspects of
                                            > > Christianity especially bring this behavior out. Again, this is
                                            not
                                            > > speculation, it is based on scientific fact.
                                            > > Further, we allow Christian Scientists to refuse their children
                                            > > medical care in the interest of freedom of religion. Looks like
                                            The
                                            > > State still has some work to do.
                                            >
                                            > Yes I am familiar with those tests concerning authority--seems to
                                            be in
                                            > human nature. I doubt Christianity is more liable to that.
                                            >
                                            > >>
                                            > >> > There is no such thing a "universal love" in a religion that
                                            > >> > insists on its being right to the exclusion of all other
                                            faiths or
                                            > >> > non believers. It can not be. There may be some derivative
                                            > > Christian
                                            > >> > sects which try to square all this up, but most of their
                                            bretheren
                                            > >> > would say that are not Christian at all.
                                            > >>
                                            > >> ---Again fallacy of composition. Christianity is on the way to
                                            > > reject
                                            > >> exclusivity.
                                            > >
                                            > > Now Richard, this statement seems like speculation to me. Why do
                                            you
                                            > > say that? Is the Catholic Church ready for a merger with the Greek
                                            > > Orthodox? Do we see fewer and fewer evangelical TV preachers,
                                            > > collecting fewer and fewer dollars for new satellites and 737's?
                                            > > Sarah Palin was just nominated for VP, for crying out loud. She is
                                            > > maybe the most radical evangelical charismatic dispensationalist
                                            ever
                                            > > to have run for VP or POTUS. These people never take a day off.
                                            They
                                            > > will never be satisfied.
                                            > > We need to call them out and be just as vigilant in protecting our
                                            > > secular prerogatives. Apologizing for them is not helpful.
                                            >
                                            > ====Google Diana Eck at Harvard University and her Pluralism
                                            program, to get
                                            > interaction and cooperation among different religions and Christian
                                            sects.
                                            > As long as they can make millions of money, those televangelists
                                            will keep
                                            > going, and more will rise--a huge scam. You are wrong in thinking
                                            I am
                                            > apologizing for bad Christians or of any other religion. I'm just
                                            trying to
                                            > emphasize the facts and counter lumping some bad activities to all
                                            > activities. I criticize religion about as much as any, and I side
                                            mostly
                                            > with Richand Dawkins, but I lean more to Dan Dennett, also an
                                            atheist.
                                            > Basically I argue against organized religion, but the problem is
                                            that
                                            > religion requires organization.
                                            > >>
                                            > >> Richard.
                                            > >> >
                                            > >>
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > ------------------------------------
                                            > >
                                            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            ------------
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
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