Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Some of the nonsense contained herein may be very loosely related to The Sisters of Mercy, but I wouldn't bet your PayPal account on it. In keeping with the internet's general theme nothing written here should be taken as Gospel: over three quarters of it is utter gibberish, and most of the forum's denizens haven't spoken to another human being face-to-face for decades. Don't worry your pretty little heads about it. Above all else, remember this: You don't have to stay forever. I will understand.
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mik
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boudicca wrote:Certainly, looking at most of the countries in Western/Northern Europe - which are as secular as it gets, really - these societies do appear to be more stable (and with a better standard of living across the board) than the US.

Religion is only a part of it though, I think... the American attitude to welfare is pretty rank IMHO, doesn't exactly contribute to social stability...
And this is what has amused me for some time; we godless secular Europeans behave in a much more "Christian" manner towards the poor in society than the God fearing Americans, who also conveniently forget those pesky commandments like "Thou Shalt Not Kill", and even sanction the murder of children and the mentally retarded for crimes as hienous as "theft of a pizza" and "cos you ain't from around here, are ya boy?"

To coin a phrase: "Go figure."
Something pithy.
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MadameButterfly
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nick the stripper wrote:I think we should abolish religion, to tell the truth. The stuff just p*sses me off. I have to keep this message short, otherwise I'll go into a massive rant about what I think is wrong with religion.
I can understand where you are coming from but people in general do need a religion where they can have faith and hope and love. And hereby my next point..

JAMES RAY wrote:
It is exactly that point of view that creates a problem within a society based around religion, not the religion itself.
Indeed that fact about society and that people seem to forget how many different religions there are out there. Gaining knowledge of the different kinds of religions and life-styles that are built around religion is fascinating.

andymackem
How do political parties pander to religious viewpoints?
And this is what I am going to be networking in a few months time. I know that I think politics and religion should not go hand in hand. Here in Holland, in Almere we are now doing a project linked with Amsterdam, trying to get *foreigners* living here more active in the political world and the reason why I am able to follow this course. One thing is for sure, we are a very small country but have so many cultures living side by side. This morning I was at a net-working day for women. From all nationalities and religions and the organizer started her speech in Dutch and it was a deje vu effect as we then had a translater speaking Arabic and a translater speaking Turkish. What excited me was the respect shown between women to listen and understand so that we could communicate. This day showed me that the coming years are going to change our political set-up and where religion will have to be put aside.
here we go again....
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Interesting. I think one has to distinguish between religion and spirituality. I think having ethics is essential. I don't think institutionalised Christianity is a very healthy thing. The problem in our society is that there is very little in the way of genuine spirituality and ethics.
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boudicca wrote:
markfiend wrote:There was a program on BBC2 last night about the influence of religion on politics in Britain today. Points mentioned included:
  • the fact that 1/3 of Britons and rising profess no religious belief, yet the number of faith schools is also rising.
That's a bit worrying - would suggest that we're becoming more polarised as a society. Some kids being brought up on strict religious doctrine, others in a completely secular environment.

Jihad on its way, then... :|
I'd be a bit more dubious about reading too much into the rise in faith schools. What this more likely reflects is a change in political policy towards minority cultural groups - a change that is justifiable in terms of equality if not in any other terms. Until the 1990s, there were a number of state Protestant, Catholic and Jewish schools, but applications from muslim, Sikh and hindu groups to run their own faith schools tended to remain at the bottom of the in-tray for years. Aside from our views about religion and secularism, this is not exactly fair on its own terms, and the position has now changed. Hence the rise in faith schools. Since Hinduism and Sikhism, like Judaism, are not proselytizing - i.e. they do not seek to make converts - any rise in these religions will only reflect a parallel increase in the size of the respective 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation immigrant populations. Islam and Christianity, being proselytizing religions, are a different matter...
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As for ethics, the Times article shows that any religion's claim to be more ethical than secularism is bunk. I can't find it now, but I read a survey that said that in the USA at least, the proportion of claimed Christians in jails is higher than the proportion of Christians in the general population.

I would argue that a non-believer who behaves in an ethical manner does so because she genuinely believes that it is "the right thing to do" whereas the believer may only behave in an ethical manner for fear of some form of divine punishment. Which is better? To do the right thing for its own sake, or obedience through fear?

That by-the-by, what's so fcuking great about Christian morality anyway? OK there are some good bits like:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)
But what about:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)


The problem comes that you can pick and choose anything from the Bible to prove a point. The right-wing Christians who condemn homosexuality do so on Biblical grounds, yet the same chapter forbids them from eating shellfish.
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And you think they SHOULD be eating shellfish??? !!! ?? !!
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markfiend wrote:As for ethics, the Times article shows that any religion's claim to be more ethical than secularism is bunk. I can't find it now, but I read a survey that said that in the USA at least, the proportion of claimed Christians in jails is higher than the proportion of Christians in the general population.

I would argue that a non-believer who behaves in an ethical manner does so because she genuinely believes that it is "the right thing to do" whereas the believer may only behave in an ethical manner for fear of some form of divine punishment. Which is better? To do the right thing for its own sake, or obedience through fear?
I think doing it because it's the right thing to do would be better, you'll only do this when you have thought it over, and not 'just because'. When you do it 'just because', you might be more likely to give in, because it is not just your personal ideal, but just because your peer told you to do so. If this peer pressure will not be around anymore, you just could come in about any peer group there is...
markfiend wrote:The problem comes that you can pick and choose anything from the Bible to prove a point. The right-wing Christians who condemn homosexuality do so on Biblical grounds, yet the same chapter forbids them from eating shellfish.
In Belgium a guy has just become a Ph.D. with a theory on gene structures of homosexuals, he did his research in the USA (got his Ph.D. in Belgium though) and several times he was nearly stopped by members of congres, because, if it is proven that it is a natural thing that comes to you rather than a choice, there's no ground left to condemn it on biblical basis.

It's all just a matter of what you want to read...
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Obviousman wrote:
markfiend wrote:The problem comes that you can pick and choose anything from the Bible to prove a point. The right-wing Christians who condemn homosexuality do so on Biblical grounds, yet the same chapter forbids them from eating shellfish.
In Belgium a guy has just become a Ph.D. with a theory on gene structures of homosexuals, he did his research in the USA (got his Ph.D. in Belgium though) and several times he was nearly stopped by members of congres, because, if it is proven that it is a natural thing that comes to you rather than a choice, there's no ground left to condemn it on biblical basis.
Evolution is by definition infinitely more scientifically sound than creationism, but that still hasn't been struck down. Besides, there's no grounds to condemn anything on a biblical basis. Religion is merely a collection of opinions. I sincerely wish that the Incitement of Religious Hatred bill had contained a clause stating the converse of "No inciting hatred towards someone because of their religious beliefs", "No inciting hatred towards someone because of your religious beliefs" to be just as important. If their religion can be protected from my "immorality", the least they could do is protect my immorality from their "religion".
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A fine discussion. I truely hope you all figure it out before you die.
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Motz wrote:"No inciting hatred towards someone because of your religious beliefs"
True.

If Wicca is a religion (and I see no reason why not) then you've got them cornered on Exodus 22:18. Clear hate-speech. :innocent:

On that level, what if a neo-nazi claimed that nazism was his religion and therefore it was his religious duty to call for killing all Jews (for example)?
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JAMES RAY wrote:A fine discussion. I truely hope you all figure it out before you die.
:lol: Is that some kind of threat of hellfire and damnation?
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JAMES RAY wrote:A fine discussion. I truely hope you all figure it out before you die.
Are you suggesting that this conversation is pointless because no one is gonna know the answer until they die, so we might as well get on with life and enjoy it to the hilt? Or did I read something into your sentences that was never there? :|
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Motz wrote:Besides, there's no grounds to condemn anything on a biblical basis.
Loads of people don't mind if there are grounds for that, they just read what they want to read (or what some chap higher in rank wants them to read/says to have read for them) and condemn it all on that basis. I think that is amongst the main points we are discussing right now, how this can influence a society...
JAMES RAY wrote:A fine discussion. I truely hope you all figure it out before you die.
I'm pretty sure I won't, but considering myself as agnostic (does that exist in English?) I think it is just a very interesting thing to discuss. You never know where it takes you and what new points of view might appear. Do you think you will then?
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Whatever, I'm getting a bit uneasy about the 4080 Peru gig now... :eek:
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boudicca wrote:Whatever, I'm getting a bit uneasy about the 4080 Peru gig now... :eek:
Whatever happens, just make sure you can tell us who stay at home exactly what happened :lol:
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Obviousman wrote:
boudicca wrote:Whatever, I'm getting a bit uneasy about the 4080 Peru gig now... :eek:
Whatever happens, just make sure you can tell us who stay at home exactly what happened :lol:
By the sounds of things, you might have to "contact" us on The Other Side...
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Obviousman wrote: I'm pretty sure I won't, but considering myself as agnostic (does that exist in English?)
Yes, agnostic is the same word in English :)
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boudicca wrote:
Obviousman wrote:
boudicca wrote:Whatever, I'm getting a bit uneasy about the 4080 Peru gig now... :eek:
Whatever happens, just make sure you can tell us who stay at home exactly what happened :lol:
By the sounds of things, you might have to "contact" us on The Other Side...
Remember, it's just your souls he's gonna take. The rest of your bodies will flock around here as ever.
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markfiend wrote:
andymackem wrote:what is a faith school?
CoE schools, Catholic schools, Muslim schools, Jewish schools, Sikh schools.
Thanks for that. I'll try to avoid asking questions with literal answers. What practical difference does it make to the education they provide. Last time I checked, an act of worship was required by law in British schools. If your school is majority Sikh (eg the Heathlands School in Hounslow), should that act of worship be Christian?

As I mentioned, I went to a CoE school without being CoE. It was just the local primary, but was grant-aided by the church. No-one expected me to be a regular church-goer. The girl who lived over the road from me was a regular at the local catholic church and comes from a devout RC family but still went - because it was the local school She also went to the local comp rather than going to St Leonards RC School afterwards.

When I was at my non-religious secondary school, I spent one year in RE studying Judaism (possibly because we had a Jewish RE teacher, famed for her astonishingly large breasts). No effort to explore any other non-Christian faith was attempted. So my 'secular' schooling means I'm no better informed about Islam than the girls from the convent school I used to corrupt on orchestra tours :twisted:

Can anyone else do better, from a secular or religious background?
markfiend wrote:
andymackem wrote:How do political parties pander to religious viewpoints?
The "Incitement to religious hatred" law?
Controls on human embryology and in-vitro fertilisation?
Controls on stem-cell research?
(The Abortion laws are a different matter as they are usually left to a free vote as a matter of conscience.)

The main example, however, was in Rochdale at the last general election where the Lib-Dem candidate (now the MP) openly accused Labour policies of being "Islamophobic". It is assumed that his victory was largely due to the votes of (traditionally Labour-supporting) Muslims.
Is the incitement to religious hatred any different, morally, from the incitement to racial hatred laws which already exist? In some communities religion is a more relevant point of identity than race, no?

Controls on genetics, as I understand it, are not entirely confined to religious beliefs. In the case of IVF I'm unconvinced that in the face of global over-population allowing rich people to create their own children is a great idea. While I sympathise with childless couples, surely adoption is a more sensible alternative than creating extra people?

As for other genetic issues, I'd refer you to Huxley rather than waffle on indefinitely. Unfettered genetic engineering, especially led by sci-tech corporations, is unlikely to benefit the greater good in the way we might hope. Legislative regulation is the only (rather scant) defence we have against this. In principle, and without any reference to what's 'natural' or who's 'playing God', I'd support this.

I'm not sufficiently expert on the details to defend myself from your next devoted defence of the scientific community, but I'll look forward to it anyway :lol:
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What is a CoE/C of E (as I presume that's the same) school?
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C of E = Church of England.

A CoE school is one which is funded by said church.
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JAMES RAY
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nick the stripper wrote:
JAMES RAY wrote:A fine discussion. I truely hope you all figure it out before you die.
Are you suggesting that this conversation is pointless because no one is gonna know the answer until they die, so we might as well get on with life and enjoy it to the hilt? Or did I read something into your sentences that was never there? :|
just read the words. I merely suggested what I said - this is a fine discussion i.e interesting & thought provoking. And I hope you do figure it out before you die - whenever that is.
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boudicca wrote:
Obviousman wrote:
boudicca wrote:Whatever, I'm getting a bit uneasy about the 4080 Peru gig now... :eek:
Whatever happens, just make sure you can tell us who stay at home exactly what happened :lol:
By the sounds of things, you might have to "contact" us on The Other Side...
fear not. the 4080peru gig will be an extention of the discussion
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Why do the thoughts "beam me up scotty" come to mind?

Or should I think "Please JAMES RAY beam me up"?

MB :roll:
here we go again....
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Dibs on a bootleg of Mr Ray's gig.
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