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Mighty AC

Good Books?

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The average religious Canadian doesn't sell their particular faith door-to-door, refuse to drive buses, blow themselves up in crowded locations or protest funerals, abortion clinics or suppliers of birth control. That's a good thing.

The average religious Canadian probably considers people who would commit these acts in the name of their particular religion to be extremists. That's also a good thing. However, these moderate, religious Canadians probably consider their scripture, be it in the Bible, Quran, etc. to be good, moral and important. That's a problem.

Good and moderate religious Canadians, have to ignore large amounts of the scripture contained within these so called good books. Thus, the crazy extremists, we are made to fear, actually follow their religious texts more closely than moderates. How can these books be considered good, if they have to be largely ignored in order to live a moral life?

Scripture is very powerful to those that believe and is often used to insight and justify evil deeds. Read this passage and honestly ask yourself if this could contribute to violent acts among true believers. People who think a god exists and has rules about how we should conduct ourselves and live our lives.

They entered into a covenant to seek Allah, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; That whosoever would not seek Allah, the God of Islam, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

Is this a passage you would expect to read in a "Good Book" considered to be a moral compass? Should a good religious person adhere to this passage or ignore it? If the answer is ignore, then where do our morals come from, gods or our social systems and culture?

Oh and one final point, that some may have already picked up on. That passage isn't from the Quran, it is actually from the Bible. Second Chronicles 15:12 to be exact; the words Lord God have been replaced with Allah and Israel with Islam. Sometimes, we can just reflect more honestly when we think we are judging the beliefs of others.

They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

I borrowed this idea from a wise friend of mine, but it helps to highlight the fact that those who consider scripture to be good or moral, probably haven't actually read it.

Edited by Mighty AC

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No established religion preaches support of, or encouragement of, conflict and violence. Many ancient writings are so general in translation and updating that those with an angry agenda will interpret the writings to their own philosophy. The more an ancient piece of writing is translated then the more nuances are lost.

I believe that most established religions are only templates for survival in society. They are instructions on how to keep yourself from being killed because of an action that has pi$$ed off somebody else.

The problem is that the more interpretive the dogma of the religion then the easier it is to follow, the more people encompass it BUT the greater chance that extremist will use it for their own ends.

Personally, I believe each to his own. Most people use their faith to try to explain away the complexities of the good and bad things in life. It gives them answers, happiness and a sense of peace. The angry, self centered and extremist individuals will use religion as an excuse to blame somebody else for their failures and shortcomings.

The tenets of any established religion are good building blocks for a sense of social morality for growing children and guidelines of how to get along with others.

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The problem is that the more interpretive the dogma of the religion then the easier it is to follow, the more people encompass it BUT the greater chance that extremist will use it for their own ends.

My point is that much of the scriptures themselves are actually extreme. The fact that humans in many cultures are moral enough to ignore them illustrates that we are good despite scripture not because of scripture.

Personally, I believe each to his own. Most people use their faith to try to explain away the complexities of the good and bad things in life. It gives them answers, happiness and a sense of peace. The angry, self centered and extremist individuals will use religion as an excuse to blame somebody else for their failures and shortcomings.

Extremists are actually truer to their religion. I also believe it is important to hold as many true ideas and as few false ideas as possible. I think that overall this is important for society as well. Though, inventing legends to fill in knowledge gaps may be comforting, I'm not sure that's the best way to handle questions that should honestly be answered with 'I don't know.' Plus, I'm not sure that people of faith, fully buy into their own fill-in-the-gap stories. Studies have shown they tend to fear death as much or more than everyone else.

The tenets of any established religion are good building blocks for a sense of social morality for growing children and guidelines of how to get along with others.

Considering it is society and culture actually keeping religion in check, I'd say religious tenets have little value. I think those who already believe, like to cherry pick and alter meanings to suit modern morality; however, if that belief wasn't indoctrinated to begin with there would be no need for this practice. Without, indoctrinated belief scriptures are just a glimpse into the quaint mythology of the ancients. With indoctrinated belief, it is a self contradicting mess that requires hoop jumping to gel with reality.

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I believe that the strength of "faith" is that one is able to interpret ancient writing and modern "modifications" to suit your own sensitivities. A person does not have to prove to anyone else whether they consider themselves Catholics, Protestants, Muslims etc. They celebrate their faith on their level, to their satisfaction and on their terms. The association and interaction is between them and their God and they can choose the intermediaries that they choose.

I think we use a lot of different labels to try to differentiate between the different ways that individuals attempt to recognize a greater being.

I take all the following: Shruti, Panchatantra, Tripiáš­aka, Dammapada, Tanakh, Talmud, Christian Bible, Gospel of Thomas, Dao de jing, Chuang Tzu, Analects of Confucius, I Ching, Qur'an, Hadith, Sunnah, Guru Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth Sahib, Book of Mormon et al , as suggestions by scholars as to how to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Extremists just choose to interpret words to satisfy their selfish evil intentions.

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Extremists just choose to interpret words to satisfy their selfish evil intentions.

Many of the words are plainly evil, it's not an interpretation issue. What we call extremists are often just people who are truer to the words, as intended.

Faith, is not a virtue it's a serious problem. Indoctrinating the idea that belief without evidence is somehow commendable is the root of the problem. The need to cherry pick or make the scripture seem more ethical and relevant than it is, only arises when belief already exists. People would not engage in exercises to make their underlying scripture seem less morally repugnant, if they were not made to believe in the first place. Well, those that have read the Bible anyway. Most Christians haven't, which makes the 'good book' myth possible.

In short, my point in this thread is that the books are not good, all on their own. It does not take evil interpreters to corrupt the meaning, it actually takes invested accomplices to edit into something positive. This fact is easy to see, if one has not already been made to believe. However, once faith has been indoctrinated critical examination is difficult. It's much like listening to kids who twist together convoluted hypotheses to explain away obvious plot holes in the Santa story. That was the point of making the Bible passage in the OP seem like it was from Quran. I hoped that for a second or two readers would see the passage for what it is; excuse free.

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I though Animal farm was a good book. It reminded me of my days when I was a committed socialist.

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What do you think the world would be like if these "good/bad books" had never been written?

What would it be like if humans had no faith?

Faith? At this point humans would be far better off with out it. No Bible or Quran? No problem. Messianic claims and startup cults were a dime a dozen a couple of millennia ago. A different cult, or several others, would have filled the void. To us these religions that became Christianity and Islam would be just like the thousands upon, thousands of others that we are not familiar with.

Besides we don't need the stories to no longer exist to move past these dangerous, make believe, hangups. We simply need to stop socially protecting religious ideas, specifically that teaching kids to accept ideas without evidence is a virtue and that religious ideas deserve respect. Once, social protections wane, so does indoctrination and religion becomes a lot like astrology or feng shui. Of course the books themselves will still exist, but we can start treating them like ancient Greek, Norse and Roman religions; quaint man made stories developed to further political agendas, control followers and to take some of the fear of the unknown

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Faith? At this point humans would be far better off with out it. No Bible or Quran? No problem.

I argue that without faith, there would be no Human Rights, no national unity, much less environmental activism, and maybe even no monetary system, no SETI program. All these things depend on various beleifs in ideas without evidence.

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Well, there's Faith and there's faith. I honestly believe England will win another World Cup someday. As strange as that is, it's not as out there as believing in the Bible or the Koran.

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I argue that without faith, there would be no Human Rights, no national unity, much less environmental activism, and maybe even no monetary system, no SETI program. All these things depend on various beleifs in ideas without evidence.

I don't see how? Please explain.

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Certainly. Our society has created and granted them.

There is as much evidence for the existence of Human Rights as there is for the existence of God.

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There is as much evidence for the existence of Human Rights as there is for the existence of God.

Really? As a Canadian you have several rights, which our society has created and then enforced or protected with a series of laws. We have evidence of a list of our rights, evidence of the laws that protect them and evidence of consequences when those rights are violated.

What evidence do you have for the existence of a god?

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Really? As a Canadian you have several rights, which our society has created and then enforced or protected with a series of laws. We have evidence of a list of our rights, evidence of the laws that protect them and evidence of consequences when those rights are violated.

What evidence do you have for the existence of a god?

The same as you, some humans made up stories and laws, wrote them down, and crucially, enough people believed these teachings (had faith) followed, defended and spread the ideas.

You have provided evidence that people believe and follow the idea Human Rights but you cannot provide evidence that Human Rights exist anywhere but in our collective imaginations.

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The same as you, some humans made up stories and laws, wrote them down, and crucially, enough people believed these teachings (had faith) followed, defended and spread the ideas.

You have provided evidence that people believe and follow the idea Human Rights but you cannot provide evidence that Human Rights exist anywhere but in our collective imaginations.

You don't seem to understand what human rights are. They are not posited to be a fundamental thing that exists in nature, but rather a construct of human society. Money exists. Corporations exist. Cars exist. This online forum exists. Their existence is indisputable, we interact with these objects/entities every day. The same is true of human rights, they are creations of our society and exist only as such. They only exist in our "collective imaginations" and that's the only place that it has any meaning for them to exist, no one reasonable claims that "human rights" are something that inherently exists in nature (if they did, you wouldn't need governments or treaties to enforce them, now would you?).

On the other hand, when people talk about "god", they are positing not only that it is an idea or object created by human beings, but that it is something that exists in nature, and in most narratives also predates human beings altogether. Unlike other things which exist in nature though, which can be detected through scientific observation, there is no such evidence for "god" nor any theoretical basis to believe that such evidence could be produced in the future.

"God" does not exist in this sense. But if your point is that "god" exists in the same sense as all the other constructs of human society exist, then sure, it's just not the sense that most people who believe in "god" think that it exists though.

Edited by Bonam

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You don't seem to understand what human rights are. They are not posited to be a fundamental thing that exists in nature, but rather a construct of human society. Money exists. Corporations exist. Cars exist. This online forum exists. Their existence is indisputable, we interact with these objects/entities every day. The same is true of human rights, they are creations of our society and exist only as such. They only exist in our "collective imaginations" and that's the only place that it has any meaning for them to exist, no one reasonable claims that "human rights" are something that inherently exists in nature (if they did, you wouldn't need governments or treaties to enforce them, now would you?).

On the other hand, when people talk about "god", they are positing not only that it is an idea or object created by human beings, but that it is something that exists in nature, and in most narratives also predates human beings altogether. Unlike other things which exist in nature though, which can be detected through scientific observation, there is no such evidence for "god" nor any theoretical basis to believe that such evidence could be produced in the future.

"God" does not exist in this sense. But if your point is that "god" exists in the same sense as all the other constructs of human society exist, then sure, it's just not the sense that most people who believe in "god" think that it exists though.

I don't disagree with you. I am arguing that Human Rights would not exist if people did not have faith.

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I don't disagree with you. I am arguing that Human Rights would not exist if people did not have faith.

It's not a matter of faith but a matter of rational self-interest. We are better off living in a society that has human rights, and therefore we create institutions which protect and enforce these rights. Your "rights" ultimately come down to the fact that if they are violated badly enough, there's a chance someone with a gun will come along and stop the violator thereof. Furthermore, the extent to which human rights are enforced, what exactly should be considered a human right, etc, are constantly hot topics of political debate.

To try to equate this with religious faith seems a pretty long stretch to me.

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The same as you, some humans made up stories and laws, wrote them down, and crucially, enough people believed these teachings (had faith) followed, defended and spread the ideas.

You have provided evidence that people believe and follow the idea Human Rights but you cannot provide evidence that Human Rights exist anywhere but in our collective imaginations.

Bonam already handled this very well. The concept of gods certainly exists, just like say Harry Potter; however, there is no evidence of existence beyond that.

I don't disagree with you. I am arguing that Human Rights would not exist if people did not have faith.

I don't see how they require belief without evidence. Human rights are enforced concepts we see actual evidence of. Your statement is like saying laws wouldn't exist without faith. For example the protections granted to my property are not subject to the beliefs of others; rather, they are enforced by our society.

Edited by Mighty AC

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