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Old 1st Sep 2004, 17:20   #21
m.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Zell
Why opposed to adoption by same sex couples?
I don't even like the expression 'right to adopt'. There are children who don't have parents or whose parents are unfit for the task (which boils down to the same); it's society's obligation to provide them with the best possible substitute, not anybody's 'right' to adopt them. So while I agree that adoption by a same sex couple would be better than remaining in an abusive family or loveless institution, I think that normally a family with standard heteresexual parents is much better environment for children. Simply, I think it's better to have a mother and father than two mothers or two fathers. Even if one doesn't accept their parents as absolute role models, he has the opportunity of seeing both sexes' ways of reaction, thinking, doing things - and admit it, there are some awful stereotypes that should be discarded, but those ways are different.
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 9:23   #22
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So Notty, religion plus violence is bad but when we mix in a bit of Marxism it's passable???
I think it depends on the context. I'm not a pacifist, if that's what you're asking. If "religion+violence" = burning witches and "Marxism + violence" = social emancipation then I might support it in the latter case, although I'm not actually a Marxist, and I'd have to think very carefully about it.

Sorry, I'm not quite sure what your point is, m.
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 10:52   #23
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:) No, I like your reply, I wasn't trying to make a point but ask what you meant. Yeah, I think I kind of assumed you're a pacifist so your reaction confused me. And you know, first you declare that you don't like religion getting into the social and political, and then you bring up, it seems approvingly, the liberation theology which is a model example of religion doing exactly that... That is confusing.

And sorry, but you really have to think very carefully about it. :wink:
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 12:42   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick green
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Originally Posted by NottyImp
The Soviets did those acts in the name of State Communism, not atheism.
Fair enough. I ought not to have said "in the name of". But wasn't atheism a central tenet of Communism? And even if I am mistaken on that point, surely the great majority of those who commited the atrocities professed atheism. (Perhaps this should be another thread? Or perhaps we two crusties should put aside the bastinado?)
Of course, "Communism" and what went on the USSR are not exactly the same things (though that does not let Communism off the hook per se). However the system that was created there was a form of religion, especially under Stalin, where he was elevated to a form of deity in the same way that the Tsar was before the revolution. The only way to prove yourself better than the previous gods is to become a better one yourself.

His elevation to that status was not really any less valid than the creation of a "god" as carried out by the Judaism (and hence passed on to Christianity & Islam) and other religions. In fact it could be argued to have vastly *more* validity as Stalim could be seen to exist, and actually did run the rule of life and death over the members of his domain.


If the monotheists are right, then it could be argued that every death or cruelty caused by an atheist is one caused by their religion as it is their god who has ultimate sanction and the buck stops there, so to speak.
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 13:39   #25
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If the monotheists are right, then it could be argued that every death or cruelty caused by an atheist is one caused by their religion as it is their god who has ultimate sanction and the buck stops there, so to speak.
Only if one believes in a realist, time-and-space interfering God, and not in free will. That's a cheap way to deny responsibility.
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 15:37   #26
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Exactly. And those of us who don't wouldn't argue that point, and those who do probably think it's their god's way of testing mankind or something.

Anyway, any other type of deity's pretty meaningless and completely free will negates any point of having a god. But there you go.

Also, denying ultimate responsibility is not much of any defense.

"You can't execute me for murder, I'm merely like this because of God/genetic composition/society/parental upbrining* !"

"Of course we can, you're saying that we're not?"

(* delete as appropriate)
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 15:54   #27
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completely free will negates any point of having a god
Not sure about this, nor a vague corollary of it: completely free will negates God
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 17:22   #28
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Many religions were invented, or expanded, by people who used them to control the populace - whether that was the original intention or not (and we'll never know the answer to that). So by laying down rules you are constraining free will. Any constraint on behaviour removes a certain amount of free will.

You could argue that you have the freedom to act now and be eternally damned, but you're not *totally* free in that case.

It's noticeable how the various religious laws often make a broad sense based on the situations in which they were created - theft, adultary, etc. are bad for morale in relatively small communities, especially when in exile; it's useful to allow multiple wives if large numbers of the male population have been killed in wars or suchlike; there are many other examples. They may well be counter examples, but the laws are created by people who will have their own foibles (and sometimes by committees who will add the odd hump here and there).

If you allow completely free will, then you don't need a religion and religious commandments to control the people, therefore you don't need a god.

It's not necessary to have a religion to control people, but by converting them to your beliefs and persuading them that you are representative of the god, you create power and control for yourself that is far easier to maintain than in many other ways. It's not just down to fear, either. By using the carrot as well as the cliché, sorry stick, you gain subservient people who want you to control them. This is a stronger power base than fear lone and thus makes religion a better method than say, despotism.

You see it on many scales in cults and sects as well as (many of) the major religions of the world.

IHMO, of course.
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Old 2nd Sep 2004, 20:10   #29
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This only works if you view God as a human invention, as part of social control. Of course there are many situations where God-belief has been manipulated/translated for use in handy political/social development, but it still doesn't make the idea of God a 'cunning plan'.

In my book, complete and utter free will is wholly part of the 'God' deal, including the free will to not believe, and without it, it's pointless. And being damned is a little too medieval for me, too.
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Old 3rd Sep 2004, 0:13   #30
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If you allow completely free will, then you don't need a religion and religious commandments to control the people, therefore you don't need a god.
I don't follow this. Who is doing the allowing here? As I see it, the more freedom one "allows" people, the more necessary it becomes for the people to be controlled. (From the point of view of the power elite.) This is reminiscent of the "manufacturing consent" idea of Noam Chomsky's. To paraphrase, because there is a certain amount of political freedom guaranteed by the political institutions of Western democratic countries like the USA & the UK, the opinions of the populace must be monitored and molded to maintain the status quo. If they had no free (political) will, that is, if they live under tyranny, they could think whatever they like b/c there would be no outlet for their will. Sorry if that's not too clear.

Anyway, the question of free will, as I see it, is intimately tied up with the notion of causality. In a world ruled by cause & effect, of which human beings are just pieces, how is free will possible? How can you say that you choose to do as you do freely, when everything that goes into that choice is beyond your control?

And the question of religion is more nuanced than we've allowed for. There are many varieties of what might be called religious experience. (Sorry Dr. James.) One of which might be called legalistic, another mystical. As I see it, in real seekers after God, the two are coexistent. The seeker adopts precepts, not because of coercion from outside, but because he/she feels that they will be of use in the search. And mysticism, the personal experience of God's grace, this is the object of the search, for which the precepts prepare the adept.

Religions arise in the wake of such seekers & make coercive laws out of self-willed precepts. This process of ossification is an attempt to hold onto the original virtue. But as Col pointed out, social problems do not reflect on the idea of God, only on the foibles of man.

And I'm sure that's quite enough sermonizing from me.
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