This relates to veganism, i promise :P.....I'm an atheist and a big fan of the Hitch (Christopher Hitchens) and his book 'god is not great' hence the tittle. anyway, by looking at religious books and just the world around us, if there was a god, it would mean humans in general are more compassionate than him/her/it ( or the people that forged these religions). If people believe in a god that would send a person to hell to eternal damnation, or a god that answers your prayers, but leaves people starving, or a god that asks for animal sacrifice, especialy if this is the message many people are giving to impressionable children. how do they justify their compassion for animals (or say that its even necessary) and belief in god at the same time? i don't feel they can go together, because i don't believe god is compassionate. And that religion teaches that humans are worthless servants. also take this verse in leviticus for instance talking about sacrificing a live dove . Leviticus, 1:12
“And he shall cut it into pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest shall lay them in order upon the wood that is on the fire upon the altar.”
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Which came first, the fruit or the primate? LOL.
The fruit. Angiosperms have been around a lot longer than primates.
Religion was invented to control and divide people and too keep them in fear.
I'm not sure I agree with this. While it's certainly useful for that purpose, I think its root lies in the human instincts for pattern recognition and paranoid caution.
The human brain is highly adept at spotting patterns, even where none exist. Combine that with the behavior of believing there's a predator behind every bush (which has survival value; the more cautious primates are less likely to become prey), and you have the beginnings of religion. Perceived patterns are infused with paranoid cautious beliefs, then hitched to the primate tendency of social hierarchy to invent an invisible alpha who's always watching.
On the whole, I think religion can be good for good people, and bad for bad people. IME, religious conversions only tend to accentuate someone's core personality, so an asshole becomes an even bigger asshole and a saint becomes a better saint. But whether they were an asshole or a saint to begin with has nothing at all to do with religion.
That last paragraph was spot-on. I'm not a scientist, to I can't say anything about the first two, but they seem to make sense. (;
great answers to all the items here and above, robert!
it needs to be understood that many seemingly clever or difficult questions actually do have sensible and substantiable answers. :D
i really think this has to be the most significant line in this or any thread of this nature:
On the whole, I think religion can be good for good people, and bad for bad people.
that pretty well covers everything.
true religion (meaning, religion based on love or goodness) ideally is good for 'bad' people also and is not just a neutral force that accentuates a person's natural tendencies... it actually compels people to become better by inspiring them to strive towards their highest ideals and ideas... imo
i would agree with that, fruitjedi.
unfortunately, the basis of religion or shall we say religiousness is books, priests and organizations. all three can take liberties which lead away from 'true religion'. they don't have to and no individual has to either if he or she is willing to focus on the 'love' and the 'goodness' instead of becoming overcome by the various interpreted doctrines.
i was just reading one of jon fergus' efforts (off 30bad) and he mentioned how gandhi had laid out satya (truth ie your love/goodness) as an ideal with ahimsa as the practice towards achieving that ideal. when the latter is practiced with integrity, it can become indistinguishable from the former.
here is a hindu story about the 'bad' people which verifies your point:
there was a very evil robber who had committed atrocities galore. he had come to the realization that he was in big trouble with a large account built up of bad karma due to his egocentric activities.
somewhat repentant, he went to a sage to see what could be done before the revenue collectors came to tax him. the sage said that his actions had been so evil that there really wasn't too much that could be done and that he was due for several lifetimes of nastiness. however, he suggested that the robber at least make a start by saying god's name "rama" over and over again. well, the robber couldn't even say the word "rama" - the word wouldn't even come out of his mouth because he had been so sinful - this was really one bad dude!
so the sage who was a creative teacher of physics as well, changed the frame of reference and told the robber to say "mora" which is the word for death. well, our robber had no trouble doing that at all, though he wasn't really sure what the point of it was. he was told to keep saying "mora" continuously and quickly. well, if you do it, you can see what happens: "mora mora mora moramoramoramo ramoramo ramo rama"
and so, apparently because he had stamina, was sincere and because the conditions had been changed (perhaps that frame of reference), he managed to alter his expected karmic fate and apparently went on to become a great sage as well (though not greater than the first sage, because he did not want to upsage his mentor).
please understand i was mainly trying to point out how religion somehow promotes animal abuse, please dont reply telling me about the good of religion or how god exists
well.... read all of the bible. if you are following only the bible, you'll see my point
if you are following only the bible, you'll see my point
that is not a demonstrable argument, shelia. the bible contains the potential for both atrocities and kindness. much seems to depend upon what parts one wants to interpret and how.
for instance, some people use the idea of 'dominion' to oppress animals while others see it as stewardship. some figure that humans can use animals as they wish while others realize animals are an opportunity to show kindness (which is possible whenever one encounters any being one can take advantage of).
you know that clearing the temple scene which some people use to argue that jesus was violent when in actual fact he was merely objecting to capitalism? well, read the following:
I interpret the four "living beings" who surround the throne of the Lamb in Revelation as evidence that heaven will be populated with non-human species. Some Bible translations say "creatures," but the Greek is zoon—it clearly should be animals.
So when the kingdom of God comes, animals and humans will be together?
Yes. There is a Bible passage that says "You save humans and animals alike, O Lord" (Psalm 36:6). And Jesus not only drove the animal sellers out of the temple, but he compared God's creation to a hen taking care of her chicks.
I thought Jesus was driving out the moneychangers?
Mark says they had turned the temple into a "den of robbers." That's where you get the idea that Jesus was angry at the economic transactions. But if you read Matthew 21 and Luke 19, it's also very explicit that Jesus drove out the animals from the temple.
We often forget that the temple was a slaughterhouse. The main point of it was to be a place where animals could be sacrificed to mediate humanity's relationship with the divine.
The point was to lay your hand on an animal. Many scholars think that symbolized the transfer of sin or guilt to the animal. Then the priest would sacrifice the animal. There were also complicated regulations about the blood. So the temple would have been a loud, noisy, and bloody place, full of the sound of animals dying. It would have sickened most people today.
So Jesus goes there to cleanse it and run out the animal sellers. That scene has been interpreted as Jesus not wanting the temple polluted with money. But when you read the text with the eyes of animal compassion, it's clear that Jesus is putting an end to animal sacrifices. In one of the gospels it says Jesus drove out the animal sellers and the animals—it's almost like he's freeing the animals.
(this entire article is a good one btw)
it's almost as though some parts of the bible was written in a way to give people a choice of behavior between cruelty and compassion. much has been changed in it through numerous translations and rewrites, but much can be done through it nevertheless.
so it really never makes sense to rail against the entire bible just as it makes no sense to rail against religion in general. there is a far more fearsome enemy out there than religion, but it can be overcome by rational thinking.
far better for the cause to seek out the worthy opportunities the book offers that are indeed workable and ally oneself with those good people (many of whom are in this very thread) who speak for animals, their convictions strengthened by their religion.
Great explanation Prad
thanks for sharing your view, this is the most relevant reply i've gotten. the bible is very self contradictory, and if you can pick and chose the way you interpret it, as you say, and you interpret it postively, isnt that more of a reflection of your character. ok i guess everything can be used as a tool for evil though. but if you are christian dont you wish god had revealed himself and his intentions at a more relevant time to more inteligent people like, i dont know, now?
but thanks for the info much appreciated :)
everyone in my religion takes a lifelong vow to be vegetarian (no meat, fish or eggs). some are vegans (and i know a few raw vegans), but at least everyone is vegetarian as a minimum. we aspire to develop qualities of compassion, tolerance, nonviolence and respect for the earth and all living beings. i think the leaders of my religion have helped hundreds and thousands and maybe millions give up eating meat, as well as become more peaceful, tolerant people.
was christopher hitchens a vegetarian? ... what does that say about atheism and compassion? i don`t think atheism is the obviously compassionate worldview if such prominent atheists don`t even give up eating meat.