• Pseudonym
    1k


    This is insane. Religions have, at best, had a mixed consequence on the world, even the pope does not disagree with that as he has condemned past activities of the church.

    Some people look at this mixed consequence and conclude that the good stuff outweighs the bad. I'm fine with that. I disagree but I can see these are mostly intelligent people and the data is, as I say, mixed.

    Some people, myself included, look at this mix and conclude the bad stuff outweighs the good. But instead of our detractors being fine with that and accepting that we're also intelligent people looking a complex, mixed picture, I'm told that I'm actually irrational, that no rational person could possibly reach that conclusion, only a zealot as bad as ISIS could possibly reach such a conclusion.
  • Pseudonym
    1k


    Thank you for at least attempting to inject some charitable interpretation. No I'm not advocating intolerance, just the ability to express our opinions and try, no matter how futile, to persuade others of things we think are important without being accused of being irrational.

    My use of the word 'allow' was poorly ambiguous but would require significant prejudice not to interpret charitably, for anyone to suggest I've said anything in my posts to justify a presumption that I probably want to forcibly ban religion is completely unjustified and I appreciate your effort to provide a more balanced interpretation of my clumsy phrasing.

    What I actually meant by it was 'allow' within the moral limits of our actions, which I think is not far from what you suggested. The normal use of the word in fact, as in the way "we don't allow smoking in pubs" doesn't mean we're going to shoot anyone found doing it because that would be immoral. Most of the time people don't have to specify that they're going to stick within accepted moral boundaries when enforcing their use of the word 'allow' but apparently I'm an exception.

    I think the only place we might disagree is that I do have quite strong views about religious education and would certainly consider that act of banning faith schools as within what I consider reasonable moral grounds for enforcing what religious activity we should 'allow', but imposing on someone's private practices would for example, be an immoral imposition on autonomy.

    The point is, these are the normal moral dilemmas society had to face when balancing autonomy with preventing social harms.
  • SonJnana
    243
    I think the only place we might disagree is that I do have quite strong views about religious education and would certainly consider that act of banning faith schools as within what I consider reasonable moral grounds for enforcing what religious activity we should 'allow', but imposing on someone's private practices would for example, be an immoral imposition on autonomy.Pseudonym

    My parents believe in god. They are fine with my brother being gay. They are fine with separation of church. They prefer separation of church and state. They are fine with secularism. In fact they have encouraged me to become atheist in a society where it is looked down upon, after listening to my reasons.

    Now this is a huge hypothetical (they don't care for preaching), but should they be allowed to preach if they wanted to? Would you say that they should not be able to have schools where, if people choose to, they come to learn because they are interested in their type of religious belief?

    I think we have to consider what the faith school is teaching. If it is ISIS preaching then of course we ban it. But does the degree of belief and it's specific consequences matter? It seems as though the case I am talking about is only harmful in that it encourages forming a world view that may not be rational. And we may also have conversations about how far a belief can go before it is banned. But do you think all faith based schools should be banned?

    Anyway, I agree with your position that we should be allowed to tell people they are wrong. I am a huge advocate for discouraging religion.
  • SonJnana
    243
    If you read Pseudonym's last comment, I think there was just more of a misunderstanding going on.
  • T Clark
    3k
    I read that quote as if Pseudonym is saying we should not allow religion when it's degrees of consequences have reached a point that is intolerable, like say ISIS for example. It is our duty to not allow that. While we should discourage in other cases. That was my interpretation, but I acknowledge that it was not my quote therefore I may be misrepresenting.SonJnana

    There is a big difference between tolerating ISIS's religion and tolerating their behavior.
  • SonJnana
    243
    There is a big difference between tolerating ISIS's religion and tolerating their behavior.T Clark

    I may have worded it strangely, but I mean we should be allowed to criticize the doctrines themselves, criticize people's interpretations of the doctrines, and not allow people to behave in the ways ISIS does.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Some people, myself included, look at this mix and conclude the bad stuff outweighs the good. But instead of our detractors being fine with that and accepting that we're also intelligent people looking a complex, mixed picture, I'm told that I'm actually irrational, that no rational person could possibly reach that conclusion, only a zealot as bad as ISIS could possibly reach such a conclusion.Pseudonym

    I'll say it again - here's what you wrote

    how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our societyPseudonym

    My interpretation of that statement is that you support forbidding religion. Am I correct or have I misunderstood what you are saying?
  • T Clark
    3k
    I may have worded it strangely, but I mean we should be allowed to criticize the doctrines themselves, criticize people's interpretations of the doctrines, and not allow people to behave in the ways ISIS does.SonJnana

    Criticize it all you want, but you don't get to put limits on the legal expression of religious belief.
  • SonJnana
    243
    It depends on context. Consider this hypothetical example. If ISIS opens up a school in America, people allow their kids to go from like age 2. The kids are taught ISIS ideals. We end up with thousands of people going around killing people. The teachers of the school itself aren't killing, but the children that go to the school grow up and start killing in this situation. Do we just keep locking up the murderers that grow in population and never end? Or do we also ban the expression of ideals of the school because it is indoctrinating children from a young age to become murderers, which is a huge threat to our safety.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Thank you for at least attempting to inject some charitable interpretation. No I'm not advocating intolerance, just the ability to express our opinions and try, no matter how futile, to persuade others of things we think are important without being accused of being irrational.Pseudonym

    I went back and looked at every post you made in this discussion. I didn't see anything that is inconsistent with my characterization of your words in my previous posts. You ask for people to be charitable but I see no charity for others in what you write or what you propose. It seems to me you don't recognize how radical the position you are describing is.

    I think you expressing these beliefs on this forum is a good thing. I'm not trying to stop it. I'm actually doing what you suggested earlier in a slightly different context:

    So what I'm saying is that by failing to act in such a way as to discourage religion, you are expressing your sincere belief that it is at least OK to have religion in the worldPseudonym

    I am acting because I don't believe it is OK to allow restrictions on people's most deeply held beliefs.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Except that civilization owes itself in large part to the "religious gene." We'd have probably died out as a species many thousands of years ago had we not developed a mind for religious thinking. And, the common denominator for bad behavior is human nature, not religions in themselves.
  • T Clark
    3k
    It depends on context. Consider this hypothetical example. If ISIS opens up a school in America, people allow their kids to go from like age 2. The kids are taught ISIS ideals. We end up with thousands of people going around killing people. The teachers of the school itself aren't killing, but the children that go to the school grow up and start killing in this situation. Do we just keep locking up the murderers that grow in population and never end? Or do we also ban the expression of ideals of the school because it is indoctrinating children from a young age to become murderers, which is a huge threat to our safety.SonJnana

    There are laws against conspiracy to promote terrorism or provide support for terrorist organizations. Are the hypothetical schools violating those laws? If not, what business does the government have in putting restrictions on them. That doesn't prevent you from expressing your opposition to the school within the limits of legal restrictions on violence and intimidation.
  • SonJnana
    243
    I thought you had said free expression rather than legal expression as if implying religious ideals should be allowed to be expressed even when they are promoting terrorism. But yeah, I'm not saying that I'm trying to put limits on the legal expression of religious belief.
  • Joel Bingham
    8
    I suppose that theism could be viewed as a mental illness however we must remember that theism rooted from a want of understanding of the universe. Now that we have technologies to discover the facts rather than stories from constantly edited books, I would say theism is more a type of denial verging on Luddism than a mental illness.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307


    I don't know how old you are, but your post is riddled with immature remarks that are clearly in reference to me, and you're trying way too hard to victimize yourself. I would strongly advise you to grow up and get used to people disagreeing with you. Seriously, this is a forum for arguing. You need to have much thicker skin if you're going to participate.

    No I'm not advocating intolerance, just the ability to express our opinions and try, no matter how futile, to persuade others of things we think are important without being accused of being irrational.Pseudonym

    Clearly I hurt your feelings, which was not my intention, but when someone is saying something irrational I am going to point it out. I tend to assume that the person will be able to handle it, but apparently I was wrong in this case. For the record, though, there is quite a bit of irony in this statement considering it's coming from someone who believes he has the right to decide what other people are allowed to believe.

    My use of the word 'allow' was poorly ambiguous but would require significant prejudice not to interpret charitably, for anyone to suggest I've said anything in my posts to justify a presumption that I probably want to forcibly ban religion is completely unjustified and I appreciate your effort to provide a more balanced interpretation of my clumsy phrasing.Pseudonym

    Do you not see the inconsistency here? You begin by admitting that your use of the word "allow" was poorly ambiguous, and then go on to insult me for misinterpreting the meaning you intended by it. Really?

    What I actually meant by it was 'allow' within the moral limits of our actions, which I think is not far from what you suggested. The normal use of the word in fact, as in the way "we don't allow smoking in pubs" doesn't mean we're going to shoot anyone found doing it because that would be immoral.Pseudonym

    We don't allow smoking in pubs because it's illegal. So you're confirming that you are, in fact, suggesting we make beliefs you disagree with illegal? If not, then your example doesn't apply and you need to be more explicit in what you mean by "allow", because nothing you have said yet has given me reason to believe you mean anything other than a use of force. You claim I am misinterpreting your meaning, and I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you need to make clear what your meaning actually is.

    Most of the time people don't have to specify that they're going to stick within accepted moral boundaries when enforcing their use of the word 'allow' but apparently I'm an exception.Pseudonym

    Again playing victim. Unbelievable.

    I try to avoid speaking to people in a disparaging way like this, especially when having intellectual discussions, but your attitude here has been so ridiculous that I felt justified in ridiculing it.

    Now if you actually want to discuss the topic, feel free to respond. If you're just going to whine more, then I wouldn't even bother.
  • Pseudonym
    1k
    I think we have to consider what the faith school is teaching. If it is ISIS preaching then of course we ban it. But does the degree of belief and it's specific consequences matter? It seems as though the case I am talking about is only harmful in that it encourages forming a world view that may not be rational. And we may also have conversations about how far a belief can go before it is banned. But do you think all faith based schools should be banned?SonJnana

    Yes, like with any moral dilemma in a society there will be a balance between respecting autonomy and restricting behaviour that it detrimental to society. It's great in the very clear cases like ISIS because we can practically all agree and the consequences are clear. What I think has not been addressed is that, given the significant effect of education on our children's development, how do we deal with the possibility that fairly benign religious teaching causes harm by its failure to teach critical thinking, moral responsibility etc. I only mention religious teaching here because this is a thread about how to treat theism (although it's strayed quite far off topic already). I would extend the issue to all forms of poor education.

    The issue is this. Somehow we've ended up with a society in which millions are starving whilst others live in ridiculous excess and the majority of the population are fine with that. There's a story (maybe fancified, but it serves a purpose) about Sitting Bull when he first toured with Will Bill's Rodeo. After every show, he would give away all of his wages to the destitute he would be faced with in the towns they visited. He didn't preach about it or reprimand the others for not, but he could not believe that anyone would just walk past a destitute person, with money in their hand, and not help them out.

    I'm not saying I blame religion entirely for the extent to which we have become so cold-hearted, but I think that the sense, imparted by religion, that some external authority figure provides you with the answers to moral dilemmas allows people to 'switch off' that sense that Sitting Bull had which made it simply impossible for him to ignore these people.

    This is essentially the issue I was trying to discuss. What does one do if one's belief leads to a conclusion where the uncertainty is very high (my theory is shaky at best), but the consequences of being right and not doing anything about is are really severe?

    Of course as soon as ISIS are brought up everyone rallies round agreeing with whatever measures are necessary, but something about modern society (capitalism, greed, culture, religion?) causes ten times as many deaths daily as ISIS have killed in their entire tenure. The question is, are we going to throw our hands up and say "I don't know what that's all about" and just let it carry on or are we going to have a serious conversation about what the root cause might be and try to change it?
  • Pseudonym
    1k
    My interpretation of that statement is that you support forbidding religion. Am I correct or have I misunderstood what you are saying?T Clark

    How on earth did you get that? The statement was "we each have the same choice to make - how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our society, based on its consequences?" Absolutely no mention of my opinion on the matter whatsoever, just a statement of fact that as moral agents, that is a decision we all must make. In fact, where in any of my posts (up to that point) have I expressed my personal opinion on the matter at all?

    To be honest I'm glad I didn't. I've already been called an irrational zealot just for raising the possibility that we should not dismiss out of hand someone who thinks that religion might be a bad thing for society.

    how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our society — Pseudonym


    He is clearly proposing that we do not allow, that we forbid, religion in our society. That means significantly more than walking door to door.
    T Clark

    This is just insane prejudice. Again, how on earth did you get from a statement that we all have a choice to make, to a conclusion that I'm advocating anything at all, let alone going door to door banning beliefs?

    The issue I was discussing is what moral duty becomes incumbent on such a person, holding such a belief? Do they act based on their level of uncertainty alone, or do they consider the magnitude of the consequences should the be right but fail to act?
  • Pseudonym
    1k
    Except that civilization owes itself in large part to the "religious gene." We'd have probably died out as a species many thousands of years ago had we not developed a mind for religious thinking.Buxtebuddha

    This is all a reasonable theory, but it doesn't answer the question I posed. You believe this theory of yours to be the case and so you act on it, that's fine because the actions you would need to take consequent to this belief are mild and in-keeping with society's current attitude. But you're not claiming (I hope) that you can somehow conclusively prove this theory, that every geneticist, anthropologist and neuroscientist out there have all reached the same unavoidable conclusion?

    So the question is, what does someone do when their deeply held conviction is not the neat status quo theory you espouse, what if they believe that religion has, in fact, harmed society and continues to do so, but they (like any good philosopher) recognise that they very much might be wrong about that. Do they not act on that belief because of the uncertainty, or do they take the risk and act because of the severity of the consequences they fear?
  • Pseudonym
    1k
    There are laws against conspiracy to promote terrorism or provide support for terrorist organizations. Are the hypothetical schools violating those laws? If not, what business does the government have in putting restrictions on them. That doesn't prevent you from expressing your opposition to the school within the limits of legal restrictions on violence and intimidation.T Clark

    This is nonsense, particularly the bit about "what business does the government have in putting restrictions on them?" Who do you think made the laws? There didn't used to be laws against promoting terrorism, people saw that promoting terrorism was causing, or threatened to cause, harm to society so they exercised their moral agency to decide that the autonomy of people wishing to promote terrorism must be imposed on for the greater good of society. They discussed the matter, campaigned for it, voted for a party which promoted it and it became law.

    The first bit is the bit that forums such as this get involved in. Discussing the matter. So it's circular to say that because there isn't currently a law against something we are not morally obligated to restrict it. We're asking the question should there be a law against it? Specifically in this case (the conversation about faith schools) we discussing whether the government should be allowed, by law, to prevent the teaching of certain values, not whether they currently are allowed by law to do so, that's a discussion for a legal forum. To just argue that they shouldn't be allowed because they aren't allowed is silly.
  • T Clark
    3k
    This is nonsensePseudonym

    Ahem...

    Several points:
    • There are not currently laws against teaching unpopular religious principles in the US, therefore the government should keep it's hands off.
    • In the US at least, it is unlikely there will be such laws. That's why we have the first amendment to our Constitution - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    • Even if it were legally allowable to put such restrictions on religious schools, or speech in general, it would be a bad idea. Any government that puts restrictions on Muslim schools will also put restrictions on expression of other unpopular ideas. For me, the most important political principle is fairness. I figure - if everyone get's treated the same, there will be no incentive to pass tyrannical laws. Free expression makes for better government and better society.
    • Even if it weren't a bad idea to implement restrictions, it would be wrong. The government tends to put restrictions on unpopular and vulnerable people who go against the status quo. Black people who want to vote. Religious minorities who want to worship. Gay people who want to live inside society rather than outside. I take these words seriously - We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
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