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Thread: Islam or Christianity

  1. #11
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    There used to be a lot of religions that believed that the gods of foreigners existed, and held power in foreign lands. They held themselves not as the one true religion, but as worship of the gods that held power in their local area. Christianity and Islam replaced them, not just because of forced conversion (although that was a factor) but because those old religions were uniformly fucking horrible, bleak and violent.

    Christianity and Islam are both beautiful religions, because they are religions of peace and love. It might be easy to forget that when you focus on the intolerance, violence and general shittiness of some of their followers, but you should remember that they came around at a time when religions were exclusive, every concept of the afterlife was hell, and there was no real sense of good and evil, aside from upholding social tradition and being loyal to your family and tribe.

    Personally, I'm thankful for Christianity and Islam, because all of Western and Near Eastern society was strongly shaped by teachings and morals of those faiths ; which means even secular humanists, atheists and agnostics from those societies have their moral compass firmly rooted in those teachings. If the last 2,000 years were shaped by Odin-worshippers, things would be much, much different.

  2. #12
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    I'm finding it hard to word what I want to say against that, but basically those two Religions being the lesser of several evils, doesn't make them any less shitty.

    If the last two thousand years hand been shaped without any Religion, by logical people they'd be better again, one does not need Religion for morality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    I don't think I'm like this anymore, though many on this forum might think otherwise.
    As I've grown up some. back in the day. I even use myself as an example. reflected on things that happened in the past. I have a better understanding of things now. At least I can admit it now. I have somehow caused this situation by mentioning how I used to act on here. how I've changed. I'm a relatively normal poster now

  3. #13
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    There used to be a lot of religions that believed that the gods of foreigners existed, and held power in foreign lands. They held themselves not as the one true religion, but as worship of the gods that held power in their local area. Christianity and Islam replaced them, not just because of forced conversion (although that was a factor) but because those old religions were uniformly fucking horrible, bleak and violent.
    What's funny is, the god of the Old Testament seems to also be one of those types of gods --- he doesn't deny that other gods exist, rather, he just seems to think that he (himself) is more powerful/more worthy of worship than these other gods, such as when he tells his followers not to worship Baal or Molech in Judges and Leviticus:

    "Neither shall you give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord." --Leviticus 18:21
    He doesn't say that Molech doesn't exist, just that you shouldn't offer your children to him. Also, Yahweh is referred to (and refers to himself) as "God of the Israelites" many times, especially early on in Exodus and some of the other earlier OT books; this is apparently to distinguish him from the gods of other peoples of the time, similar to Molech and Baal.

    That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” --Judges 6:24
    God never once decrees that these other gods "do not exist," merely that he is better/more worthy than they are. Later on, Christians (and maybe some Jews, though I'm not aware of any Jewish apologetics on this specific point) try to retcon the mention of any "alternative gods" as just alternative names for Satan/Lucifer....but this seems dubious given how few attempts there actually are in the Old Testament to branch them all together. A lot of names (such as Baal) are either titles to refer to a "type" or "class" of god (Baal was sometimes used as either the actual name of an old Sumerian god, or as the Akkadian word for "Master," which could simply be a title), or in some cases, the actual names of other gods (such as later mentions of Baal, or the aforementioned Molech), implying that Yahweh is referring not just to another god, but another god that we have evidence of people worshipping from outside of the Biblical texts. So we have extraneous proof that "Baal" was worshipped at some point, and that proof dates back even farther than the Bible in some cases (as proven by the fact that it is referenced in the Bible --- how can something be referenced in a text, if it did not already exist when that text was written?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovellamas View Post
    I've noticed a tendency for liberal atheist/agnostics (of which I am one) to rip on Christianity while defending Islam. I'm not saying anyone on this bbs does it (though some of us did in the past), but I see it all the time. Like you see people who call Islam "the religion of peace", but attack Christianity with everything they've got.

    Anyone else notice this? Thoughts?
    Yes, and it's one of my major issues with "liberals"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldwin View Post
    Christianity and Islam are both beautiful religions, because they are religions of peace and love. It might be easy to forget that when you focus on the intolerance, violence and general shittiness
    Ooh, man... have you read the Bible? That shit is not peaceful nor is it full of love. Lots of Christians like to say that the New Testament is peaceful (it's not - it's just a lot less violent than the Old) and that it wiped away the violence of the OT. Except:
    Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn't the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament. (Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.)
    Jesus also thinks that we should remove parts of our body that engage in sin. (5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.)

    It goes on from there. I haven't read the Koran, but Christianity is definitely neither peaceful nor loving.

    Personally, I'm thankful for Christianity and Islam, because all of Western and Near Eastern society was strongly shaped by teachings and morals of those faiths ; which means even secular humanists, atheists and agnostics from those societies have their moral compass firmly rooted in those teachings. If the last 2,000 years were shaped by Odin-worshippers, things would be much, much different.
    I agree with this, but I think Coneman makes a good point... I wonder what the world would be like if there'd never been religion...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrconeman View Post
    If the last two thousand years hand been shaped without any Religion, by logical people they'd be better again, one does not need Religion for morality.
    You don't need religion for morality, but morality is largely formed by the society you grow up in, and we grow up in a society based on Christian principles. If you grew up locked in a tiny steel box with no social interaction, your moral compass would be fucked. So, if at around 0AD the world turned athiest, then their athiest morality would be formed by the societies and religions that came before it, and that morality would not be something you or I would ever want to imagine. Where it would go from there in the next 2,000 years is up for debate, but without the concept of "good is rewarded and evil is punished" being a cornerstone of morality, I can't imagine it going anyplace nice.

    As llamas said, it would be a more interesting to question what the world would be like if religion never existed. Personally, I don't think it would be very good. Religion, and how religion copes with massive environmental or social changes, seems to be the biggest historical factor in any profound change of morality, so without it I'm guessing our morality would probably still be as primitive as a dogs, stuck forever at the level of "Anything the strongest alpha in the tribal band seems to approve of is good, anything he doesn't approve of is bad". But that's just my own personal guess, based on very little thought, and I could easily be moved to change it if I heard a compelling argument otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovellamas
    Ooh, man... have you read the Bible? That shit is not peaceful nor is it full of love
    I have read the Bible. And when I was an angsty, shitty little teenager who got pissed off by Christians I was drawn to the same passages you're quoting. But honestly, do any believers pay them any notice at all? Even in the 1350's, during the Great Dying, do you think anyone was being stoned to death for shaving their beards, or forcing rapists to marry their daughters? Those passages are practically historical records of how things used to be amongst the olden-day Jews, and you'd be hardpressed to find anyone, no matter how insanely fundamentalist, who stands by them as how society should be run.

    Humans have filtered out and ignored those old and archaic laws because we have no need for them whatsoever. But some things stuck, like when Jesus casually and vaguely mentioned that "If you're a good person, you go to a good place, I guess. And if you're sinful, then you go someplace really nasty, where there's wailing and gnashing of teeth". He probably had no idea what he was saying was going to be more important than him ranting against the moneylenders and zealots, and I don't think he'd bothered to think it out much at all. It was just a casual remark with probably no forethought or deep meaning to it. It wasn't even properly developed as a thought for another millenia or so, but it became the primary tenet of Christianity and the most important thing to ever be said in the Western hemisphere, ever.

    The Easterners already had that concept in the form of Karma, and the idea that good people are reincarnated as higher lifeforms. In the west, that concept never existed up until then. The Germans did have a vague concept of it with Walhalla and the Ragnarok, but it rewarded warlike death more than goodness, and was so ridiculously bleak and horrible I'm not even going to put it up for comparison.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is that the idea that being good is rewarded and being evil is punished only seems so basic and obvious to us because we grew up with it, and the last 1,000 years or so of people before us grew up with it. Even if you don't believe in Heaven and Hell, the concepts of "Live by the sword, die by the sword", "Each good deed is it's own reward", and all those others are ingrained into your morality. Even when you know that lifelong serial rapists get away with their crimes and live happily ever after, and good people are struck down by childhood leukemia, only the most cynical and sociopathic people are capable of wholly rejecting the idea that good people generally get rewarded and evil people generally get punished.

    It feels like normal human nature to us, but it isn't. We seem to think than an atheist from 500BC would act with the same moral compass as we do, because it just makes so much sense to us. That's why so many atheists can reject Christianity completely as a violent and hateful religion, while claiming it's not at all relevant to their morality. It's more than relevant. It's the basic fucking cornerstone of their morality, whether they know it or not.

    Apologies for the wall of text.
    Last edited by Baldwin; 03-15-2012 at 10:09 AM.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldwin View Post
    As llamas said, it would be a more interesting to question what the world would be like if religion never existed.
    Well, that's actually what I meant, I just happened to say 2000, as it was a direct quote, but essentially your next paragraph summed up what my thoughts would have been.

    I completely understand that the idea of good and evil comes inherently from within Religious teachings, (Atheists do love to talk about how Religion "invented" evil as such) of course it is only speculation, but given the nature of our species, I fear you're probably correct in saying that we wouldn't have gone any place nice. At least not for a long time. I honestly think the concept could have existed outside of the way that it actually did come to exist - Religious morality.

    While I can't really wager a guess how or even why (considering morality while a bonus, is essentially useless to the common Paleolithic man), without much more thought, and as such you probably won't be moved to change your guess, I just have a gut feeling that humanity would eventually find, even if through trial and error, that morality is generally a good thing. I just don't want to submit to myself that the human race without Religious indoctrination was doomed to never move on as a species beyond Tribal groups living ruthlessly to their own ends. As pessimistic as I can be about us, I kind of don't want to think that's true. Call it faith (LOLOLOLOLOLOL)

    Again though, that's all just thought, we can't ever really know how it would go, I suppose. Maybe I'll think on it, and wager a better guess another time.

    an angsty, shitty little teenager who got pissed off by Christians I was drawn to the same passages you're quoting. But honestly, do any believers pay them any notice at all? Even in the 1350's, during the Great Dying, do you think anyone was being stoned to death for shaving their beards, or forcing rapists to marry their daughters? Those passages are practically historical records of how things used to be amongst the olden-day Jews, and you'd be hardpressed to find anyone, no matter how insanely fundamentalist, who stands by them as how society should be run.
    It's a great point to bring up against actual fundamentalists though, if they can disregard any single point in the Bible (as they often do, the ones listed) then it should simply call into question, every thing else written in the Bible, but we're talking logical thinking and Fundamentalists, never gunna happen.
    I wonder if even those crazy Westboro Baptist nut jobs believe in such things? Maybe I'll rape my way into the Westboro Baptist Church family and destroy it from the inside.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    I don't think I'm like this anymore, though many on this forum might think otherwise.
    As I've grown up some. back in the day. I even use myself as an example. reflected on things that happened in the past. I have a better understanding of things now. At least I can admit it now. I have somehow caused this situation by mentioning how I used to act on here. how I've changed. I'm a relatively normal poster now

  8. #18
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    coneman, there's evidence, sort of, of morality without religion. Subhuman hominids showed some forms of reverence for their dead and it's thought that some of them had taboos against cannibalism, while their language was likely too primitive to express any sort of abstract thoughts such as religion. So they certainly had social customs which could have formed the foundation of a developing morality.

    Whether they'd have reached the level of morality we're talking about, I doubt. Even if an individual came up with an idea like "If we agree to stop raping the lowriver women, they might agree to stop raping our women, and that would be Good", without a Big Man in the Sky to call on they'd have a hard time convincing the rest of their clan that it was a good idea. And even if a clan did adopt such a view, they'd need a hell of a lot of swords to keep it alive, since atrocities win all the wars. That's mainly why our sense of morality took so long to develop, even with religion to give weight to any new ideas.

    As to the fundies, I don't think that a true Christian Fundamentalist actually exists in the world today. Baptism and some other protestant groups were centred around rejecting the modern evolutions of the faith and going 'back to what's in the bible', but they clearly haven't done a very thorough job of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maria
    As for morality, I don't see what it has to do with religion, either.
    That's because you're clearly very stupid, and have no clue what kind of morals people had before Christianity. The only thing in your post that comes close to being right is that Jesus wasn't a good man. He wasn't good in the sense that we view as good, because concepts like that didn't even exist back then. And he wasn't good in the sense that his contemporaries would have seen as good, because their idea of 'good' was mostly centred on being a violent murderer of anybody foreign, and collecting the foreskins of your innocent victims.

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    Hey look, all those people were born thousands of years after their society's sense of morality was defined by religious teachings. Isn't that an amazing coincidence?

    I'm glad to see they all managed to develop a concept of morality so compatible with that of their contemporaries, without any form of help or guidance or examples from the society they grew up in. I guess modern morality is an inherent part of human nature, and the last 250 million years of human existence was simply dominated by people who had the exact same morals as we do, and just chose to be evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldwin View Post
    You don't need religion for morality, but morality is largely formed by the society you grow up in, and we grow up in a society based on Christian principles. If you grew up locked in a tiny steel box with no social interaction, your moral compass would be fucked. So, if at around 0AD the world turned athiest, then their athiest morality would be formed by the societies and religions that came before it, and that morality would not be something you or I would ever want to imagine. Where it would go from there in the next 2,000 years is up for debate, but without the concept of "good is rewarded and evil is punished" being a cornerstone of morality, I can't imagine it going anyplace nice.
    I have to disagree here. Religion didn't invent the idea that some things are good to do and some things are bad to do; religion only invented their differing views on what is good and what is bad. Do you sincerely believe that people thought killing others was all fine and dandy until religion came along, and then suddenly they were like, "Oh crap! Maybe it's not such a great thing that I stabbed my bowie through that guy's skull!"? Religions came up with various things that they could deem moral or immoral, and they were able to come up with the "evil" concept...

    "... religion cannot be the ultimate source of intra-group cooperation. Cooperation is made possible by a suite of mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion. Moral judgments depend on these mechanisms and appear to operate independently of one's religious background. However, although religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation, it can play a role in both facilitating and stabilizing cooperation within groups, and as such, could be the target of cultural selection."


    I have read the Bible. And when I was an angsty, shitty little teenager who got pissed off by Christians I was drawn to the same passages you're quoting. But honestly, do any believers pay them any notice at all? Even in the 1350's, during the Great Dying, do you think anyone was being stoned to death for shaving their beards, or forcing rapists to marry their daughters? Those passages are practically historical records of how things used to be amongst the olden-day Jews, and you'd be hardpressed to find anyone, no matter how insanely fundamentalist, who stands by them as how society should be run.
    Christians merely pick and choose which parts of the bible they want to believe. I've known Christians who said homosexuality is a sin according to the bible, but they have extra-marital sex, among tons of other things the bible says are sins, but they ignore.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrconeman View Post
    It's a great point to bring up against actual fundamentalists though, if they can disregard any single point in the Bible (as they often do, the ones listed) then it should simply call into question, every thing else written in the Bible, but we're talking logical thinking and Fundamentalists, never gunna happen.
    I wonder if even those crazy Westboro Baptist nut jobs believe in such things? Maybe I'll rape my way into the Westboro Baptist Church family and destroy it from the inside.
    Exactly. And the Westboro Baptists (who are far from being the only church like this - they're just the one with all the media attention) follow the bible's teachings much more strictly than most Christians. I don't know if they're absolute, though.
    Last edited by Llamas; 03-17-2012 at 03:58 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmak84 View Post
    I do not drink alcohol and coffee

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