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This is a question God

Tell us your stories of churches and religion (or lack thereof). Let the smiting begin!

Question suggested by Supersonic Electronic

(, Thu 19 Mar 2009, 15:00)
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Is it not the point...
... that religions all assume they are "right", which means that non-followers are "wrong" (choose your definition of right and wrong to fit). This leads in a more of less extreme way to two things:

1) You consider yourself superior to others, because you are on the "right" side.

2) You consider it your duty to bring people to see the "right" side. For their own good, of course.

It's no different to any other reason for being divisive - nationality, skin colour, whatever you choose, but it leads directly to unnecessary division and that leads to conflict, which itself leads to needless suffering.

I better stop before I turn into John Lennon.
(, Thu 19 Mar 2009, 15:38, closed)
Not necessarily
Buddhists don't proselytise; Jews haven't since the Maccabees rebellion.

Of course, holding a belief implies a secondary belief that you are correct. But that doesn't have any normative significance at all. I believe that Purcell was a better composer than Handel, that there is life elsewhere in the galaxy, that Moby Dick is a better book than Harry Potter, that Golbach's conjecture is true, and so on. Implicity, I think that people who disagree are wrong. Whether I have a duty to correct them, though, is a different matter.

But I can still say, "Fine. Let's argue it out." I'm not wedded to any of those beliefs. Those that turn out to be false, I or my interlocutor has a duty of some sort to ditch. What remains, with luck, will be truth-tracking.

Still - I don't see how correcting false beliefs leads to suffering. If you believe that the seventh digit of pi is "w", I can explain to you why that is false, and why you should abandon your beliefs. I don't think you'd suffer as a result.
(, Thu 19 Mar 2009, 15:45, closed)
If it were logical it would not be a religion.
That is more or less the definition of one. You can't argue out religion because you are "right" and nothing can change that.

The other great thing about Harry Potter is that you don't believe that I will go to Hell (come back as a cockroach or whatever) if I prefer that to Moby Dick. However, if I have the wrong religion then that's where I will end and surely it's your duty to help me avoid that. It does raise the stakes somewhat.

You are quite right. There is nothing inherently problematic about disagreement. What that neglects, however, is human nature. Put 10,000 "Potterites" one side of a fence and 10,000 "Dickites" the other. Make them live side-by-side for 100 years and then open the gate. I bet you the first stone will be thrown within the hour because if you put a large group of people with similar views together they will simply amplify each other's opinions, and a radical element emerges. You don't need the "official" version of a religion to be violent or evangelical. That element will emerge on its own.

Anything that divides people tends to generate conflict, and anything as important as where you will spend eternity is always going to divide.

I have no problem with your disagreeing with this - most of the issues are pretty subjective - but I see religion as an unnecessary reason for (irreconcilable) division and therefore a bad thing.
(, Thu 19 Mar 2009, 16:16, closed)
"Buddhists don't proselytise" eh?
My arse they don't, buddhists created the first documented missionaries in the entire world, otherwise their religion probably wouldn't have spread as far as it has. Pretty much any rather large religion in this day and age has had very active proselytisisation at one point.
(, Sat 21 Mar 2009, 13:40, closed)

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