The Gross National Debt

Friday, May 30, 2014

Because God told me too ... : A look at the human side of religions

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/apostasy-woman-in-sudan-sentenced-to-death-forced-to-give-birth-with-her-legs-chained-9451088.html

So this is not real uncommon, despite rational people WISHING it was incredibly rare.

My friends are of two camps on this:

• It is the fault of religion

• It is the fault of humans

MA, a declared atheist and someone I once shared a house with, is of the religion fault side.

“I don't buy it. If there were no such thing as religion, "apostasy" wouldn't exist,” she opined. When I said the word “apostasy” has no meaning outside religion, she came back with “Therefore religion caused this to happen. A 'religion' with no adherents is what most people call a myth. If there was no religion involved, this woman wouldn't be sentenced to death. Not for this particular crime anyway. So I do blame religion.”

Point of order Mr. Chairman. Women (and men) are treated the exact same way for the same thing without religion being involved.

Anyway...

TC, another college-daze bud who was closer than some blood kin, offered this: "When the tenets of a religion dictate certain consequences, the faith itself must bear some measure of responsibility. Of course, all decisions are inevitably a matter of choice, most of the time.”

VF, who once lived next door to me, worked with me and swapped kids every now and then with me, had this to say “To think 'religion' caused this to happen is like saying guns kill people or spoons make you fat.”

My thought? Religion is inert. Religion requires human action in order to become a motive force. Religion, by my definition, is different than God or a god. God is a force and can cause things to happen. Religion is a concept, an idea, a philosophy. It requires an outside force in order to affect anything.

Those like MA and to a lesser degree TC see religion as responsible. If that is the case, then how can you hold religion accountable? Accountability is the other side of the coin that is Responsibility.

I give you this example. I lived in the Rocky Mountains for a year. The roads through mountain passes had huge craters. This is where part of the mountain fell off and crushed the road. The road then had to be repaired.

How can you hold the mountain accountable for the damage? It cannot be done.

MA says religion cannot be separated from its adherents. As I understand this (I asked her and she said I got it right), she said the adherents define the religion and without adherents, the religion cannot exist.

I disagree in part. Adherents do define how a religion is seen; perception is not always reality. The ancient Druid religion exists; we have records of this. We do not know what they did. Ancient Aztec religions involving human sacrifice exist. We don’t know much about those either. Saying “they existed” is a probably more accurate way of putting it. However, existence in the past does not negate its existence. Saying a religion doesn’t exist because it no longer has adherents is to say the Civil War never took place, dinosaurs did not exist and Plato’s Cave doesn’t exist.

I give you this other example; a number of Science Fiction authors have created alien races with their own religions. Harry Turtledove’s Colonization series brings in an alien race with a religion. It’s fiction, but Turtledove also created a religion for the alien race. I’m pretty sure no one is an adherent to this religion.

MA posits: all religion is fiction. Extending this concept, the religion created by Mr. Turtledove for his alien race is just as valid as any human religion.

I say separate the religion from the followers. To some degree, even MA agrees: “A person committed the act. But there are still other causes involved.” She has more to say in the thread, which I link to below.

One thing we do agree on: Religion can be an excuse for atrocities.

Unfortunately, every religion I am aware of has been linked to atrocities of some sort, yet those acts were still committed by a human. No human action = no atrocity committed.

See the whole thread here and toss in your two cents if you like. Two rules: No profanity and do not insult others in the thread. Attack the ideas all you like.

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