Religion - is one better than another?

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Message 1454601 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 20:38:48 UTC
Last modified: 16 Dec 2013, 20:44:58 UTC

rigghhttt once again we get into the Catholic church and its magical power to persuade madmen to see the error of their ways. So a madman is going to bend to the will of the Pope. Hmmmmmm I'm thinking not.

a little light reading on Catholic treatment in Nazi Germany

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany

It seems that Catholics were left out of favor. How pray tell how would German Catholics proceed since they were already in low standing


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Message 1454603 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 20:42:07 UTC - in response to Message 1454580.  

I find it strange that it is being used as an argument to show that religion doesn't play a part in wars. After all the Nazi's gained power by playing on the ancient hatreds between the Christians and the Jews (the Jews killed Jesus remember). They then scapegoated the Jews which led to the German people going along with their persecution. The Catholic Church stood by and did nothing to save the Jews even though they knew what was going on.

I never said it didn't play a part. I said it doesn't play such a huge role as so many people argue. Also, the Nazi racism against the Jews went way beyond mere religious grievances. Jews were considered to be a separate race, there were supposed biological markers that show that someone was a Jew (Jew noses for example). The reason for the Nazis to prosecute the Jews was that the Nazis considered themselves biologically superior, and as the superior species it was their duty to get rid of the lesser species. You know, Social Darwinism.

The Nazis for example also never framed the whole thing as a struggle between Judaism and Christianity, no it was always clearly framed as the German Aryan Ubermensch fighting off the horde of communist untermensch who were financed by the Jews with all their money, and where Jews were framed as parasites who got rich of the backs of hard working Germans, etc.

So while the initial racism against Jews in Europe was religious, and while indeed it certainly always retained a religious element, by the time the Nazis came into power, that racism had evolved way beyond religion.
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Message 1454604 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 20:46:25 UTC - in response to Message 1454600.  

And if I do not accept any genocide as rational? Genocide done in an efficient and methodical manner does not necessarily make it rational.

In which case you would be proving my earlier point that your biases interfere with your ability to think critically.


Incorrect. It is my ability to think critically that allows me to recognize that what the Nazis did was not rational. Just because they used a form of rationale in how they executed their killings, does not mean the logic itself was rational.

That is what rationality is capable of when it becomes completely detached from empathy and sympathy for those who are affected by it.


No, that would be an example of religious bias and scapegoating. Again, that they used a form of rationalizing on how to kill, does not mean the logic to kill was rational.

I do not mistake your argument as approval for what the Nazis did. I merely find it highly questionable that you would find it agreeable that what the Nazis did was anything close to resembling rationality.

Just because I'm disgusted by what they did doesn't mean I can deny the facts. Maybe you should visit Auschwitz yourself one day, maybe you will see what I mean for yourself.


It seems we differ in how we interpret those facts. I don't deny what you said happened. I disagree that what they did was rational.
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Message 1454607 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 21:04:30 UTC - in response to Message 1454600.  

Its completely ruthless, completely immoral and unethical, but its also rational in its pursuit to reach a stated goal in a as efficient as possible way.


That age old chestnut keeps appearing every so often no matter where one goes or what one reads.......

...the ends justifies the means.

What a sad indictment of mankind, it seems no matter what era one is in, we just don't learn from past mistakes.....

...religion is well suited to man!

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Message 1454613 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 21:29:06 UTC - in response to Message 1454578.  

The idea of human rights predate the French Philosophers. The Magna Carta was the first time in the west that any rights of people were formalised...and like all rights they weren't handed out by some benign people in charge. They certainly weren't driven by the Church at the time.

There is a massive difference between the political rights the Magna Carta granted to the English nobility and human rights. At best the Magna Carta is the first attempt of some kind of proto-constitution and the creation of some sort of constitutional monarchy. The Magna Carta did not apply to all citizens in England, only to the monarchy and the nobility and the members of both groups. Furthermore, the Magna Carta deals with the power balance within the English government, which is similar to what constitutions are designed to do. Finally the Magna Carta had legal effect, it was essentially the law, not just some guideline.

Human rights by design are meant to apply to all humans no matter where they are born and they essentially confer rights that all humans have by the virtue of being human. They furthermore do not say anything about the relation between the government and the people or the balance of power between different branches within the government. Finally, the human rights officially have no legal effect, though some governments have codified them into national law. But officially, the human rights of today are little more than a guideline.


Actually no. Most people will not go and fight to take someone's land. In modern democracies the people that do need to have the will of the people on their side. Bush would not have had the support of the American people for his war on Iraq if him and Blair hadn't forged proof of WMDs, a threat that the people swallowed because they were led to believe that the Muslims were coming to get them. At the time (and still today) the American people can't tell the difference between Muslim and Terrorist. This was deliberately done by the elites because I really doubt the American people would have sent their son's to die to the rallying cry of "help us get rich with their oil!"

Oh? The soldiers who marched singing towards the front in WW1 disagree. Nationalism has been a very useful way to convince people that the other guy needs to die. Really, anything that creates an 'us vs them' setting can be used. Even sports teams, just ask the hooligans in Eastern Europe.

And over the past few decades, the American public has demonstrated itself to be more than willing to wage wars in other lands for such vague motives like 'national security' or 'to liberate and to spread democracy'. In fact, the UN even designed a doctrine around it: Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which basically states that states have a responsibility to protect their people and once they fail at that job, other states have the responsibility to intervene, with military force if they have to.


Solidiers are still trained to dehumanise their enemy. Religion is one tool that is used. However, like I said, wars today cannot be fought by a democratic country without the consent of the people.

I wasn't aware the US army trained its soldiers to hate everyone who is not a Christian. Seems unlikely given that the army is not allowed to discriminate against different religions, and thus Christian soldiers have to work together with Atheists, Muslims and whole range of other religions. Not a good idea to train them to dehumanize their enemy based on their religion because it might cause them to dehumanize members of their own army as well.

Actually, religion as a tool for dehumanization is quite useless in open, democratic societies given that these countries are often rather religiously heterogeneous.

And yes, the democratic peace theory, which states that democracies supposedly do not go to war all that much. Well, yes, technically the public needs to consent, to some degree. Technically the US president only needs the support of congress to start a war. Its congress that needs the support of the people. In any case, the Iraq war just demonstrated how easy it is to get the support of the people. Once consent is given, the public will have a hard time before it can revoke its consent and force the US president to withdraw.

Furthermore, the idea that democracies don't go to war that much heavily rests on the idea that the people don't want the costs of war, namely losing friends and family, so that is why they are reluctant to go to war. But in comes the 'revolution in military affairs' which thanks to technological advancements has made it possible to wage war without virtually losing anyone. I mean, the US lost like 4000 people in Iraq in the course of several years. That's nothing on a population the size of America. Now war just costs a lot of money, but most people don't mind spending that money. So they are far easier to convince to wage a war these days. Great huh?

Sure, religion can be used to dehumanize, and has been used to dehumanize in some cases. But to say that they are the root cause for the majority of conflicts is just not true, and even as a way to dehumanize the other its not been used that often.

WW1, WW2, every Communist revolution, Hutu's vs Tutsi's, Crimean War, Boxer Rebellion, Opium War, Vietnam War, every war fought after the Peace of Westphalia on the European continent until the French revolution, Napoleonic Wars, American civil war, American revolution, war of 1812, every colonial war in Africa, Boer War, French war in Vietnam, Dutch war in Indonesia, Dutch war against the English, Roman wars against the barbarians invasions as well as all the wars of expansion they fought.

Well, Europe waged about a 150 years of almost constant warfare (each time it were different wars) since the peace of Westphalia until the French revolution, the Romans also fought multiple wars, the colonial wars include multiple wars. I wager you have to find about 300+ wars were religion either played a significant role as method to dehumanize the other or was the root cause of the conflict.

If your god is indifferent why would that suggest there even is an afterlife? and it sounds like it could be indifferent too. It might be really horrid.

Indifferent doesn't mean he didn't bother with an afterlife. Perhaps means he isn't going to send people to hell for doing bad stuff. I doubt that if there is an afterlife its going to be a city in the clouds with angels flying about and where the sun eternally shines. I don't know what its going to look like. I just prefer to think there is one. And somewhere I hope its going to be nicer than this place.

And perhaps he isn't actually indifferent, but just not good or evil. Perhaps God is an artist and perhaps he loves us the way an artist might love a piece of art he created.

Then what does god do? Is he/she just some sort of weird voyeur who gets off on our suffering? Are we just gods entertainment?

Maybe. Maybe we are just the result of a divine piece of art. Maybe this is just an advanced simulation and God is the person who programmed it.

More likely he does not perceive us as suffering. I mean, I doubt that a being that is beyond our realm of understanding would think in a similar way as we do.
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Message 1454615 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 21:32:48 UTC - in response to Message 1454604.  

Incorrect. It is my ability to think critically that allows me to recognize that what the Nazis did was not rational. Just because they used a form of rationale in how they executed their killings, does not mean the logic itself was rational.

The logic was an economic, industrial form of logic. Namely how do I reach (goal) as quickly as possibly and as efficiently as possible, for the lowest cost possible. That is exactly the way a factory owner thinks when he is thinking of making a certain product. Unless you want to tell me that such a form of logic is irrational.
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Message 1454617 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 21:40:12 UTC - in response to Message 1454615.  

Incorrect. It is my ability to think critically that allows me to recognize that what the Nazis did was not rational. Just because they used a form of rationale in how they executed their killings, does not mean the logic itself was rational.

The logic was an economic, industrial form of logic. Namely how do I reach (goal) as quickly as possibly and as efficiently as possible, for the lowest cost possible. That is exactly the way a factory owner thinks when he is thinking of making a certain product. Unless you want to tell me that such a form of logic is irrational.


The logic to blame Jews, gypsies, the Polish and others for their political/religious issues was irrational. To execute them for a perceived role in their economic situation was irrational. To convince themselves to exterminate entire groups of people on such a large scale was irrational.

The factory owners that think this way often find themselves on the news for their harsh labor conditions and are usually quickly rectified.
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Message 1454620 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 21:43:21 UTC

If, Right Now, fO The First Time In HuWoMan History-In The History of Da Universe - I 'invent' GOD and Religion, I would have My GOD, My Religion, and My Belief of 'it' and 'it'.

If No One Else, finds out, about My GOD and Religion, I would Be Happy and My Belief stays Sacrosanct and Inviolable. If 'Others' On Their Own, also 'Invent' Their GOD and Religion, so be it and Good fO Them. Still "My" will be Sancrosanct and Inviolable.

What 'is' in My Mind and Their Mind 'is' Real, and Needs Nor Wants any Facts to be Real.

Stay Out Of Peoples Minds.

Keep Your Atheism and Your GOD/Religion to Yourselves or The Communities who 'Believe' as You Do.

GOD, Religion, and Atheism and ism Galores Are Here To Stay.

' '

May we All have a METAMORPHOSIS. REASON. GOoD JUDGEMENT and LOVE and ORDER!!!!!
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Message 1454625 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 22:07:38 UTC - in response to Message 1454617.  

The logic to blame Jews, gypsies, the Polish and others for their political/religious issues was irrational. To execute them for a perceived role in their economic situation was irrational. To convince themselves to exterminate entire groups of people on such a large scale was irrational.

Alright then, let me ask you this, why was extermination an irrational choice? Its only the result of a line of logic, which in your eyes was completely flawed, but that is only because you have a certain cultural bias that makes you think that. Had you been a devout Nazi at that time, you would have considered the Jews to be subhuman vermin. Why is your line of reasoning rational and their line of reasoning irrational?

I think their line of reasoning was based on one flawed assumption, but they considered that flawed assumption to be correct, and worked from that assumption. The holocaust as a result was, given the conditions under which it happened, the ultimate logical conclusion in a line of reasoning based on a single flawed assumption. Its rational in its irrationality. And the decision to eventually go over to extermination was given the assumptions under which they operated, logical and rational.

The factory owners that think this way often find themselves on the news for their harsh labor conditions and are usually quickly rectified.

First, this is the basis of capitalist thinking. Second, it doesn't have to automatically result in harsh labor conditions, one could use robots or one might find that harsh labor conditions are ineffective. Third, harsh labor conditions get rectified the moment the public hears about them? In what universe? Because as far as I know, most industry is still getting moved to low wage countries who are not known for their good labor conditions. H&M and Apple are just two very obvious examples.
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Message 1454626 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 22:18:20 UTC - in response to Message 1454625.  
Last modified: 16 Dec 2013, 22:20:48 UTC

The logic to blame Jews, gypsies, the Polish and others for their political/religious issues was irrational. To execute them for a perceived role in their economic situation was irrational. To convince themselves to exterminate entire groups of people on such a large scale was irrational.

Alright then, let me ask you this, why was extermination an irrational choice?


Really? I have to explain why mass extermination is an irrational choice? And I have to defend this cultural bias of valuing life?

Why is your line of reasoning rational and their line of reasoning irrational?


Because any line of reasoning that starts with "let's kill these people and our lives will be better" is irrational.

The factory owners that think this way often find themselves on the news for their harsh labor conditions and are usually quickly rectified.

First, this is the basis of capitalist thinking.


The basis for capitalist thinking does not include the slaughter of humans wholesale in factories. That was the logic you said was being employed by Nazis. My statement was in direct counter to your example.

Second, it doesn't have to automatically result in harsh labor conditions, one could use robots or one might find that harsh labor conditions are ineffective.


Then at least there wouldn't be any harsh labor conditions that effect humans.

Third, harsh labor conditions get rectified the moment the public hears about them? In what universe? Because as far as I know, most industry is still getting moved to low wage countries who are not known for their good labor conditions. H&M and Apple are just two very obvious examples.


I never said the practice stops immediately. I simply said the incident is immediately rectified. If they do not rectify the incident, there would be a huge public outcry for action, so they are forced to at least give the perception that they took care of the problem, even if they continue the practice where public eyes can't see.

And all this happens in the Universe I live in. But don't let that stop you from making broad generalizations about my statements before finding out more about them.
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Message 1454631 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 22:52:02 UTC - in response to Message 1454626.  

The basis for capitalist thinking does not include the slaughter of humans wholesale in factories. That was the logic you said was being employed by Nazis. My statement was in direct counter to your example.

No, that was not what I meant. Look, for a moment think like a capitalist who wants to produce cookies. So, a capitalist wonders how he can with the resources he has, under the current market conditions, produce as much cookies as efficiently as possible, for as little as possible, right? Because making a lot of cookies quickly for low costs means you can sell more of them and make profit right? So, the capitalist starts thinking what options he has. He could go to the kitchen and bake the cookies, but that would be inefficient and expensive. His other option is to invest in building a factory, hire some employees and have them produce cookies. If those two options are his only options, then clearly building the factory results in the most cookies produced in the most efficient manner for the lowest cost, given that the amount of cookies he makes and sells outweigh the costs of having to set up a factory. So, this is rational thinking right?

Now imagine that you are a crazy racist dictator, who wants to get rid of all the Jews in Europe because he is a crazy racist. He has two options, one he puts them on a boat and sails them far away to a place he doesn't care about, but given the conditions he is in getting enough boats, rounding up all the Jews and putting them on those boats and then sailing them to a far away place is inefficient, time consuming, expensive, etc. His other option is to just kill them all. Thats easier, cheaper, quicker and more efficient. So, what does he do? Right, he goes for the easier, cheaper, quicker and more efficient solution.

He applied the exact same logic as the capitalist, only where the capitalist wanted to achieve the maximum amount of cookies as quickly and cheaply as possible, Hitler wanted to achieve the maximum reduction of Jews as quickly and cheaply as possible. Hitlers goals were crazy, but the way he set out to achieve those goals are purely rational. Which is why Auschwitz and other destruction camps strongly resemble the way meat factories process meat.
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Message 1454633 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 22:58:47 UTC - in response to Message 1454631.  

so in other words, the ends really do justify the means....

...not much hope for mankind then regardless of religion or capitalism or whatever fancy name is given to man's quest for power and greed.
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Message 1454634 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 23:02:44 UTC - in response to Message 1454633.  

so in other words, the ends really do justify the means....

...not much hope for mankind then regardless of religion or capitalism or whatever fancy name is given to man's quest for power and greed.

Well, for crazy dictators the end usually justifies the means. And it also doesn't help if they think that their victims aren't even humans.
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Message 1454636 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 23:07:29 UTC - in response to Message 1454634.  

Don't forget the factory owner and his "need" for efficiency.
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Message 1454645 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 0:26:07 UTC - in response to Message 1454631.  
Last modified: 17 Dec 2013, 0:48:54 UTC

The basis for capitalist thinking does not include the slaughter of humans wholesale in factories. That was the logic you said was being employed by Nazis. My statement was in direct counter to your example.

No, that was not what I meant.

...

So, this is rational thinking right?

Now imagine that you are a crazy racist dictator...


Comparing a dictator to a capitalist in the manner you are is incredibly far-fetched. Any thinking that starts with "If I kill these people, then our lives will be better" is irrational. Any minutia in the rationale afterward is irrelevant. Any decent capitalist simply wants to make money, and possibly employ people to do the work for him/her. The minutia of how a decent capitalist goes about earning the money is irrelevant so long as they are not harming people.
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Message 1454668 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 1:30:18 UTC - in response to Message 1454634.  

so in other words, the ends really do justify the means....

...not much hope for mankind then regardless of religion or capitalism or whatever fancy name is given to man's quest for power and greed.

Well, for crazy dictators the end usually justifies the means. And it also doesn't help if they think that their victims aren't even humans.

Any logical argument that starts with a flawed premise no longer qualifies as a logical argument.
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Message 1454669 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 1:33:26 UTC - in response to Message 1454668.  

so in other words, the ends really do justify the means....

...not much hope for mankind then regardless of religion or capitalism or whatever fancy name is given to man's quest for power and greed.

Well, for crazy dictators the end usually justifies the means. And it also doesn't help if they think that their victims aren't even humans.

Any logical argument that starts with a flawed premise no longer qualifies as a logical argument.


That puts it rather succinctly.
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Message 1454761 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 9:39:53 UTC - in response to Message 1454669.  
Last modified: 17 Dec 2013, 9:43:31 UTC

That assumes that a group of people is subhuman is a flawed premise (to be sure, I agree here, now I'm just playing the devils advocate). But can you rationally say that? Or is that just what your culture and your upbringing have taught you?

The point here is, that even though we consider dehumanizing a group of humans as a flawed premise, for the Nazi's this logic clearly made sense. If you would ask them, they would no consider it to be a flawed premise. The operated under the idea that it was in fact the correct premise, and from there adjusted their policy in a cold, bureaucratic-rationalist way.

Aside from that, so far both of you have demonstrated a remarkable ability to let personal moral and ethical convictions stand in the way of pure rational calculation. Good, but all this shows that pure rational behavior is just one flawed premise away from turning into the mass murder of 6 million people.
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Message 1454763 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 9:49:07 UTC - in response to Message 1454645.  

Comparing a dictator to a capitalist in the manner you are is incredibly far-fetched. Any thinking that starts with "If I kill these people, then our lives will be better" is irrational. Any minutia in the rationale afterward is irrelevant. Any decent capitalist simply wants to make money, and possibly employ people to do the work for him/her. The minutia of how a decent capitalist goes about earning the money is irrelevant so long as they are not harming people.

I get the feeling you just don't want to see it. Yes, the premise on which the logic starts is flawed, but the structure of the logic is exactly the same. The same motives play a role here, namely the need to maximize efficiency and minimize cost. That does not suddenly become irrational because you disagree with the premise and the goal.

So what comes after it is not irrelevant, it shows exactly that far from being murderous sadistic brutes, the Nazis were extremely cold and rational in their attempt to exterminate millions of people. Personally, I only find that it makes their regime worse. Unconstrained hatred for the other is tragic, but far more easy to comprehend then the cold, emotionless and calculating way in which millions were killed without mercy. The Nazis treated them like we treat cattle when we lead them to the meat factory.
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Message 1454767 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 10:03:43 UTC - in response to Message 1454763.  

So to close the debate regarding the Nazi's you agree that religion was only an excuse as their actions were rational.
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