A little help please!

mrOriginal
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A little help please!

I am writing a paper for school in direct response to a theist who decided to present an argument to our Philosophy class that claims that Christianity has served humankind since its inception in a positive manner.  Even though she only includes one particular religion, I am trying to gather as much information as possible to shed light on the FACT that more people have died and justified atrocities in the name of religion than for any other reason.  With most wars, modern especially, there is almost always a polictial factor involved, but I want to emphasize how a clash of ideology and theology has instigated, and caused more death and destruction than any other force imaginable when beliefs are taken to the extreme by the so called "righteous" of the world.

I have started with Ancient philosophy and included references to Greek and Roman Mythology, Ancient Indian Mythology- Mayans, Incans etc (sacrificial ceremony), the various Christian and Muslim sects, the Hebrew Bible, the Inquisistion, the Crusades, Gaza, Africa, WW 2 Genocide, 9/11, Catholic Priests abusing children...etc...

I am looking for other specific examples, so can you guys help me out???

I want to expose the human element of religion with the examples I share, in a way highlighting the true nature of each religion, while showing how "people" warp and distort morality and reality for their own selfish, self righteous agenda.

I need facts, the Professor will not tolerate conjecture.  Any and all help will be greatly appreciated because there are 50 other people in this class that will be listening to me.  A small, but important chance to expose the exact nature of theism to people who are paying for classes that are supposed to make them think.  So help me give them something to think about.

Im not expecting anyone to write a paper for me, I just want to make sure the argument is sound, so whatever examples anyone can provide I will investigate in its entirety. Of course, no refernce will be cited or credited as being promoted by the site to keep us all safe, it will come from the books or online sources I can find to substantiate anything contributed here.

Thanks in advance to those who reply!

Mr. O.

"Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them."

Friedrich Nietzsche


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Do you mean beyond the

Do you mean beyond the obvious examples of The Inquisition, The crusades, The Catholic/Protestant conflict in Ireland, the Witch children being raped an tortured in present day Africa, The Westboro Baptist Church, and the rampant kid touching????

Well... besides the killing, r*pe, torture and pedophelia...  There is always the inherent misogyny, guilt, homophobia and sex-o-phobia which prevents people from actually *living* their lives in favor of their view on how an invisible, omnipotent, sex hating creator wants us to remain fearful and celibate....


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The Catholic Church gave

The Catholic Church gave their support to the Nazis in pre-war Germany. The Pope turned a blind eye to the roundup of Jews in Italy.

The Catholic priest is required to tell a father that the life of his child is more important than that of his wife in difficult labors.

Catholic opposition to condoms has  helped spread AIDS in many places.

The Christian churches in the US supported slavery in the antebellum South, finding justification for it in the Bible.

Priests destroyed all but four books of the Mayans, nearly eradicating an ancient culture. The Church benefited from the slavery of South and Central Americans as the Spanish went looking for gold.


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A theist could attempt to

A theist could attempt to show good things that religion has done.

So, it would be a much stronger argument to try to identify causality or the lack thereof rather than just pointing out correlations i.e. show that their religious beliefs dictated their actions. At the same time, it would help to separate religious belief from good things. Of course, in neither case are you always going to be able to justify this because, well, it's not always true. Imo, it's a lot more difficult and complex to really show that religion is bad than it seems at first. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Try this one.

 

 

 

                          Chinas'  Taiping rebellion of 1850 to 1864 ;  The taipings were christian zelots who rebelled against the Qing dynasty and non-christian locals.  The death toll was estimated at 20 million people all in the name of heavenly peace and christian vertue.

 

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/taiping_rebellion  

 

                

 

                      And don't forget David Koresh   and   Jim Jones.

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mrOriginal wrote:I am

mrOriginal wrote:

I am writing a paper for school in direct response to a theist who decided to present an argument to our Philosophy class that claims that Christianity has served humankind since its inception in a positive manner. 

Crap.

I'll help you write that paper.

Here it is:

*******************

 

 

 

EPIC FAIL

 

 

 

*********************

 

Now, was that supposed to be single or double spaced?...

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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     Hahahaha, too funny

     Hahahaha, too funny Rednef. I love it. I think I will say screw the paper and just borrow that Idea and make an "epic fail" poster. 

@ the mod's comment, causality is a great idea to consider. I'm sure I can work it in.  I've got about 20 pages now, so why not a few amendments to point that out.

Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone.   The China situation is of great interest to me, that one I definitely missed.

 

 

oh yah, Double Spaced, definitely double spaced.

"Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them."

Friedrich Nietzsche


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Ok, I know I'm over the top,

Ok, I know I'm over the top, a lot.

But, in all seriousness, the title of any paper that is a rebuttal to his assertion should read:

 

Christianity: The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

 

Christians suffer from selective memory, and moral double standards.

 

They can 'connect the dots' in all kinds of ways to 'paint' evil on their enemies, and  deconnect the dots, in all kinds of ways, and 'sugarcoat' themselves as "Sugar and spice, and all things nice".

 

How do you know a Christian is lying?

Because they're talking about 'themselves' when they talk of 'God', or 'Godliness'.

In other words, they're saying 'Trust me'...

 

That's how...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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mrOriginal wrote:Im not

mrOriginal wrote:

Im not expecting anyone to write a paper for me, I just want to make sure the argument is sound, so whatever examples anyone can provide I will investigate in its entirety. Of course, no refernce will be cited or credited as being promoted by the site to keep us all safe, it will come from the books or online sources I can find to substantiate anything contributed here.

I don't agree with your thesis-- sure, you can cite cases were theists have committed atrocities, but the critique is not unique to theism.

Hopefully a professor could recognize a sampling bias when he sees one....

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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Just for the record

 

about 1500 Jews were hidden in the Vatican during the roundup in Italy after the allied landings. The Italians and Greeks (Danes and Swedes) were probably the ballsiest of all the Europeans with the Jewish thing. Local catholic churches were heavily involved. The Italians saved about 70 per cent of their nation's Jewish population by hiding them in churches, forests, barns, cellars. I admire the Italians for their position. All through the war as Germany's key ally, Mussolini refused to send Italy's Jews to Germany for resettlement. Apparently, when Hitler brought it up repeatedly in meetings he used to roll his eyes and stare at the ceiling till the Fuhrer changed the subject.

 

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Hmm. Considering the past

Hmm. Considering the past two posts, I might have to make a decision on whether or not to approach this from a different angle. I stand firm that religion in general is the cause of many of these atrocities. The emotional reaction that it instigates within most theists affects them on such an irrational level that, throughout the ages, many awful crimes have been committed in the name of ___________ <=====insert particular theism. I can also see, that religion could be practiced so long as the human element was taken out of it.

However, I put religion on the same scales as I do everything else. Religion has simply caused more harm, a lot more harm to the human race than it has ever achieved peacefully. I can readily admit, that not all theist are blood thirsty murderers and rapists, but there is the crime of the mind to be taken into consideration. If someone can be convinced into believing anything, then the hard part is over. The mind can now be controlled to whatever end. That scares me the most.

The main point is that religion technically cannot commit a crime, only a sick, sadistic individual acting out of hatred and intolerance is capable of taking something to an extreme, however righteous the intention.

I had to sit and listen to the "good" religion does allready, for over an hour......eww. So, now, its time for some harsh, calculating logic, and the peanut gallery can make up their own minds on whether or not religion is a force of peace, or of destruction.

 

Thanks to mr extremist and mr anyone., to argue a good point, I will have to have better knowledge of both sides.

Mr. O.

"Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them."

Friedrich Nietzsche


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Get a copy of Constantine's

Get a copy of Constantine's Sword by James Carroll. Another quick read for you with a lot of information is The Crusades by Jonathan Riley-Smith. Read about what occurred after Pope Urban II called the 1st Crusade. What the Byzantine Emperor Alexius actually wanted was about 200 knights. What he got was crazed religious fanatics by the thousands whipped up by the Pope and fanatics like Peter the Hermit. Just the 1st Holocaust in Germany in Mainz and Trier should be more than enough to show how religion is counter productive.

____________________________________________________________
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mrOriginal
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What you say is true, no

@ubuntoanyone...

 

What you say is true, no doubt, it is not specific to theism.  However, it is a grad-school philosophy class, and the assignment given was specifically this " Your next assignment is to prepare a term paper to be read in class, its purpose, to debate whether or not religion has had a positive or negative effect on humanity.  You may only present one side, and references must be precise to substantiate your claims."      He is counting on bias.  That is why he is letting us choose, so that we don't argue half assed because we got the wrong side assigned to us.

I do wish deep down that I could broaden the spectrum a little bit, but doing so goes outside of the task given to me.  The focus is on theism for now.

I rarely get to deconstruct religion without interuption, or an audience for that matter. I'm happy to have this chance.  There will be plenty others who will submit the exact opposite, out of a class of 50, I am one of 3 who chose the "dark side",  so, to remedy your "bias" ignorance, I am dutifully outnumbered, and most of my words will fall on deaf ears, and half of the heads between those deaf ears will most likely be hungover.....its college.  A perfect place for a hypocrite theist to preach to me in that class, while getting into drunken shennanigans the night before. 

 

While the critique is not unique to theism, it just happens to be limited to theism...not my choice.

 

"Hopfully a prefessor could recognize a sampling bias when he sees one...."       Wow, a smug, sarcastic comment made before any real knowledge about the

actual premise of the assignment.  You know who else makes assumptions about things they know nothing about? Theists.     Wierd huh?

 

no thanks,

 

Mr. O.

"Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them."

Friedrich Nietzsche


mrOriginal
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@ pauljohntheskepticthank

@ pauljohntheskeptic

thank you for the references, ill be sure to find those pieces of literature.

"Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them."

Friedrich Nietzsche


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Here's a great source for

Here's a great source for the 'psychological' effects that are uniquely particular to religious ideals.

Sam Harris.

He always puts a very fine point on the 'mentality' of theists.

This is a great lecture by him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTKf5cCm-9g

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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The trick would be to find

The trick would be to find cases where they did something nasty because of their religion, not just doing something while they happened to be religious.


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Don't make an enumeration

Don't make an enumeration war out of the debate. You can cite sources saying religious people did bad, they cite sources saying non-religious people did bad (Paul Pot, Stalin). Half the debate will be about Hitler, and his beliefs.
Instead, describe how religion, by its very nature makes people do bad things, not because the people ARE bad, but because they can't discern between right and wrong. If you were to base your moral standards on something that you don't have proof for that it works, you're guessing. When you guess, you can't discern between what is just and what is not.

I would also add a small sections saying "Most likely my opponent will cite a dozen sources saying atheists did bad things. I can enumerate a couple, too, but this isn't relevant. Those people committed bad acts because they WERE bad, not because their convictions MADE them bad, per se. What I'm going to show, though, is how religion changes peoples morals, in a way that isn't based on anything substantial."


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mrOriginal wrote:What you

mrOriginal wrote:

What you say is true, no doubt, it is not specific to theism.  However, it is a grad-school philosophy class, and the assignment given was specifically this " Your next assignment is to prepare a term paper to be read in class, its purpose, to debate whether or not religion has had a positive or negative effect on humanity.  You may only present one side, and references must be precise to substantiate your claims."      He is counting on bias.  That is why he is letting us choose, so that we don't argue half assed because we got the wrong side assigned to us.

I do wish deep down that I could broaden the spectrum a little bit, but doing so goes outside of the task given to me.  The focus is on theism for now.

I rarely get to deconstruct religion without interuption, or an audience for that matter. I'm happy to have this chance.  There will be plenty others who will submit the exact opposite, out of a class of 50, I am one of 3 who chose the "dark side",  so, to remedy your "bias" ignorance, I am dutifully outnumbered, and most of my words will fall on deaf ears, and half of the heads between those deaf ears will most likely be hungover.....its college.  A perfect place for a hypocrite theist to preach to me in that class, while getting into drunken shennanigans the night before. 

Given that you "have to" to do it, I think you could substantiate it without a problem. I think I'd ask the professor if I could write a paper critiquing the debate, rather than affirming one side or the other, because in good conscience, I couldn't do it, unless of course I was playing devil's advocate.

That being said, I'd read "god is not Great" by Hitchens and "A Letter to Christian Nation" by Harris for primers on the subject, as these are book-length essays on the very subject. I'd avoid the "Hitler was a theist" crap and stick to religiously motivated wars and atrocities -- that are things done explicitly in the name of a god.

mrOriginal wrote:

While the critique is not unique to theism, it just happens to be limited to theism...not my choice.

"Hopfully a prefessor could recognize a sampling bias when he sees one...."       Wow, a smug, sarcastic comment made before any real knowledge about the

actual premise of the assignment.  You know who else makes assumptions about things they know nothing about? Theists.     Wierd huh?

I suppose it's equally smug and sarcastic to make assumptions about me being smug and sarcastic....

But that was not my intent... I just don't think it is a defensible position, and a bad argument on either side.

Without supplying the details of the assignment and you being on "the dark side", I inferred that you chose this topic rather than being forced into it. But if it was not by choice, I suppose I inferred incorrectly.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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Well, if I had to write your

Well, if I had to write your paper my issue would be, "Positive or negative, compared to what?".

 

We're talking about biological imperatives that seem to result in religion, where the only way to escape it seems to be very high levels of modern education *or* strict indoctrination that simply replaces the standard themes of religion with secular themes but uses the same methods with the same results.  Religion just is, I'm honestly not sure how you could possibly sort out the positive or negative implications of it because to remove it from our history would be to change the nature of the human race.

 

If the question is specifically about the modern period then it still comes down to, 'compared to what'.  Some secular systems seem to hold up better than most religions and some religions hold up better than some secular systems.  Both theistic and non-theistic ideologies have brought horror and bliss in equal measure.

Plus, what is your goal?  What constitutes, 'best'?  I can formulate religious systems that are almost entirely beneficial to whatever moral axiom I happen to value, and  could do the same (probably with more difficulty) with secular systems.

I agree with ubuntu, I think it is a stupid question and I don't think I could answer it honestly on either side.

 

 

But since you have to answer a specific thing...besides pointing out atrocities linked to religion I think your best tactic is to focus on the fact that religion usually relies on appeals to absolute authority, the traditional resistance to individuality, the simple path to abuse of authority in those situations, the traditionalism that stunts progress, the way it attacks the ego of the individual to make a place for itself, the way religions force adherents to adopt systems of thought that make it impossible to discern reality from fantasy, and the conflicts those methods of thought must, by definition, lead to.

So my attack wouldn't be on the specifics of what religion has done, although you need to use those, but I would focus on the negative philosophical implications of religion.

 

I think the biggest objective argument the other side can make is that religion gives the masses an objective source of morality and a reason to strive in the face of dispair due to the afterlife concept.  I think those ideas can potentially be attacked by pointing out that objective morality leads to tyranny and contrast modern crime rates in secular vs. religious societies, and the afterlife concept...well, that's tough.  Reality isn't as warm and fuzzy as a comforting lie.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote: I agree

mellestad wrote:

 

I agree with ubuntu, I think it is a stupid question and I don't think I could answer it honestly on either side.

 

 

Agreed.

As an undergrad philosophy major myself, this seems a rather poorly worded question for a term paper, especially for graduate level work. I'd critique the question as being pointless and any argument supporting either side to be flawed (given that listing people from group 'x' that do bad things says nothing about group 'x', unless you can demonstrate that x says to do bad. But when you have different versions of 'x' on every street corner, how to implicate all of 'x' by the teachings of some versions of 'x;?) I also like the comment earlier about religion being a positive or negative relative to what? 

Thoughts on the actual question itself mr.O ?


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@ mellestad The more I'm

@ mellestad

 

The more I'm reading each post, the more I am slowly coming to believe that I have missed the entire point of the lesson trying to be taught.  Focusing our efforts on one side or another gives no room for a middle ground.  "Relative to what" indeed.  "Things" cannot be bad. Only "people".  A telephone, or an ink pen (as things) could be no more bad that "religion". 

   Good and evil has a very different meaning to nearly everyone I come in contact with in the world.  I feel like I need to relate this to my writing.  We can disguise "good and evil" as "positive and negative", but there is not a specified source of reference with which to judge what good and evil actually is. 

Is our sun evil because in a few billion years it will become a red giant and swallow our planet up before collapsing in on itself???

There simply is no established premise on which to base a thesis upon with this assignment.  Methinks this is the whole purpose.  Considering that religions include moral codes, and define in their own ways the difference between good and evil, it cannot be approached subjectively...or maybe it can...

I see too many variables to truly take on side or another.  Damnit.

A revision is in the works now.  I hate to manipulate the project, but while it states what we must do explicitly, it does not specify what I am not allowed to do.     I just hope that it works.

 

@ ubuntuanyone

Apologies to you, sorry for being an asshat in the earlier post.

 

 

Philosophy as it is define is the pursuit of wisdom, pertaining more to speculation instead of observation.

That being so, going with the norm and joining my classmates basing our intellectual debate through historical observation would directly contradict what philosophy really is.

So, it is time to let them look like idiots, and make a speculation....."Relative to What?"   Now that is a question to ponder on.

 

Thanks for the much needed input.  It is greatly appreciated.

 

Mr. O.

 

"Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them."

Friedrich Nietzsche


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Good luck, I hope the prof

Good luck, I hope the prof doesn't flunk you Sticking out tongue

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Good luck, I

mellestad wrote:

Good luck, I hope the prof doesn't flunk you Sticking out tongue

 

 

yea, good luck lol