Well, This is Just Disturbing

If they were going for for shock value with the video, it worked.

But there is an obvious difference between people who take their religious books so literally, they’re willing to kill for it, and those who can find more socially acceptable interpretations of them. Neither are rational, but let’s recognize that not all religious beliefs bring out the worst in people.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://unorthodoxatheism.blogspot.com Reed Braden

    I agree. This was very disturbing and shocking! They murdered Carmina Burana!

    Once again, Carl Orff’s memory and work is ruined by the overuse and misuse of O Fortuna; the song that is also frequently used to sell beer, video games, Adam Sandler movies, boats, Dorritos and Tide with bleach.

    Where is the respect?

  • Daniel

    I think Ron Paul and McCain are reversed, but where is Obama on the list? He should be just before Mitt. I guess Democrats with religion are ok because they don’t really believe it. Right? They don’t really believe it? They’re just saying it for votes?

  • Kyle

    My only complaint is that Ron Paul isn’t a higher bar.

  • Rasputin

    Every movement needs its agitators and the rational response guys do a decent job. The point needs to be made and sometimes being nice about it doesn’t get the point across. So someone needs to be an a-hole about it to make the point then the more conciliatory folks can come along and do something to address the point.

  • Miykael Poly

    Sorry, that was not really shocking. The music made it dramatic, but few green bars is not shocking…

  • http://scrappyd.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    It isn’t something I would make or even think to make, but I wouldn’t say shocking.

  • http://limadean.wordpress.com limadean

    If I hear Carmina Burana used one more time…
    (I love Carmina Burana, but come on, people, try Mozart’s Requiem or something!)

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    I think what the video is suggesting is that if religious belief doesn’t bring out the worst in someone, it’s because it’s less seriously held than it could be, not because the person believes in god differently, Hemant.

    I don’t absolutely agree with that, but I agree with it generally, for most religions.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Things like this are utterly irrelevant.

    The implication/suggestion is that that stronger the belief in God, the more likely to commit mass murder. Might it be possible that there is no real correlation?

    Some people have believed so strongly, that instead of killing for it, they died for it.
    Some have believed so strongly they went to a third world country and started a hospital.
    Some have DISbelieved so strongly they made an institution out of Communism and made individuals to be be disposable, and so committed mass murder.
    Some have believed so strongly in a god that had not nothing to do with murder, and so their actions had nothing to do with their religious belief.

    Is a video like this supposed to make believers say, “Well dang, those terrorists sure believed and it made them do bad things, by golly, I guess I should renounce my [completely different] belief!”

    Honestly, I feel dumb for taking the time to point this out.

  • chancelikely

    Sigh… further proof that the spell-check portion of my brain gets the lion’s share of the blood flow….

    Two t’s in Mitt, O Rational Responders.

  • Mriana

    That is disturbing. I have friends who are Christians and they would never dream of committing violent and/or cruel autrocities.

  • Tracy

    I think it’s a fine video. I think America needs to be shocked. We’ve become complacent and lazy when it comes to election time. This is why our gov’t has run amok and our economy is crashing as we speak!.

    Even though I too know Christians who wouldn’t believe in doing anything violent like that, there are Christians who would. A good book to read on the subject is “Terror in the Name of God” by Jessica Stern. She covers all of the major religions and their reasons for their heinous behavior.

  • Richard Wade

    Daniel Hoffman,
    It’s not dumb to point your views out because it is not a given that your views are correct. You say,

    Some people have believed so strongly, that instead of killing for it, they died for it.

    The families and supporters of the men who flew the planes emphasize that they died for their beliefs. In their minds the killing of almost 3,000 people is made inconsequential by that. You portray martyrdom as if you assume that dying for one’s religious belief is automatically a virtuous act. Why? Do you admire the Buddhist monks who immolated themselves in Southeast Asia during the 1960′s? Dying for one’s beliefs involves killing. The fact that it is one’s self does not cancel that out.

    Some have believed so strongly they went to a third world country and started a hospital.

    Yes. Many, many more have believed so strongly that they went to those very same countries and wiped out the native cultures, languages and ways of living. It is cultural mass murder. The hospital builders generally don’t protest that.

    Some have DISbelieved so strongly they made an institution out of Communism and made individuals to be be disposable, and so committed mass murder.

    This one doesn’t apply. The turning of people into things by the communists had nothing to do with a lack of belief in gods. It was a lack of belief in the value of humanity. The very same thing, making people disposable is right now being practiced by capitalist countries, most notably in the very religious United States, both at home and abroad.

    Some have believed so strongly in a god that had not nothing to do with murder, and so their actions had nothing to do with their religious belief.

    Yes, the religious beliefs or lack thereof (see your previous example about communism) often have nothing to do with extreme actions. It’s not so much the presence of strong belief in gods, it’s more about the absence of doubt in people that leads them to horrific behavior. The worst atrocities in history have one common thread: They were all committed by people who had no doubt about the righteousness of what they were doing. They did not believe they were doing evil. Their absolute certainty of the goodness of their goal pushed out any nagging doubt that maybe they were mistaken.

    When people become addicted to the lure of possessing absolute truth, often spelled with a capital “T” they are capable of any level of inhumanity.

    When the Twin Towers came down I did not renounce belief in gods. I renounced belief itself. By belief I mean the persistent assumption of the truth of anything in the absence of acceptable evidence. I have worked hard to cleanse myself of what I consider a form of lunacy. So when someone says to me, “You don’t believe in anything,” I say, “Thank you, I’m trying my best.”

    Is a video like this supposed to make believers say, “Well dang, those terrorists sure believed and it made them do bad things, by golly, I guess I should renounce my [completely different] belief!”

    Probably not. If it plants a seed of doubt in a few people who might have been on their way to the doubt-free state, then that is good. It’s not going to stop people from believing. It might just help them keep the uncomfortable but so very important and humanizing emotion of doubt alive. As much as I strongly dislike most of what the RRS does, I can’t argue with this video. (Other than Huckabee’s bar should be much higher.)

  • Maria

    I agree with point the video was trying to make, but I think it probably would have made it’s point better if it had said “religiousity” or “adherence to religion” instead of “belief in god”. I know plenty of people who don’t really go to church or practice religion at all, but still think there is “something out there”, and certainly wouldn’t get violent over it. This type of thing isn’t fair to them.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Is it an urban legend, or did our own beloved president ultimately decide to invade Iraq due to a religious vision? Is it true that the Holy Spirit told him to invade (with much applause from those around him)… If so, then that’s scary. And even if you do buy into the concept of the Holy spirit, how do you differentiate the Holy Spirit from bad subconscious ideas bubbling up to the surface? I’m sure Bush’s advisors where preaching invasion for months to Bush before he had his supposed “vision”…

  • Rebekah

    This one doesn’t apply. The turning of people into things by the communists had nothing to do with a lack of belief in gods.
    -Richard

    I agree for the most part… however, atheism was/is a large part of the communistic thinking. No god= no human soul, which somehow arrived at the idea of less human worth (unless you fit some sort of elite requirement). It was definitely a screwed up lack of belief in humanity, but atheism did play a part.

    I agree with Maria.
    It would have been better if it had more to do with religion, not with GOD.

  • Miko

    Yes. Many, many more have believed so strongly that they went to those very same countries and wiped out the native cultures, languages and ways of living. It is cultural mass murder. The hospital builders generally don’t protest that.

    If the knowledge of one culture’s existence is enough to destroy another, perhaps the other didn’t deserve to exist in the first place. Slavery, denying women the right to vote, etc., are all cultural ideas, and they deserved the fates they’ve had. Kidnapping Native American children and raising them in a ‘superior’ culture was certainly a bad thing, but providing an alternative point of view to those that lacked it isn’t inherently bad of itself. As you point out later, unjustified belief isn’t a good thing. And much of culture is unjustified belief based upon the lack of knowledge of alternatives. The U.S. proves that different cultures can flourish together when each has something to make it attractive to its adherents. When a culture is wiped out by the introduction of a new culture, I’d suggest that there were either extra-cultural factors (e.g., violence) or that the members of the old culture didn’t see fit to continue it. And in the latter case, who are we to force them to?

    If it plants a seed of doubt in a few people who might have been on their way to the doubt-free state, then that is good. It’s not going to stop people from believing. It might just help them keep the uncomfortable but so very important and humanizing emotion of doubt alive. As much as I strongly dislike most of what the RRS does, I can’t argue with this video.

    I see it accomplishing the exact opposite goal. People view it and say “Well, my belief isn’t like that, so those who made this obviously must not understand my belief” and leave it at that. The video has a powerful idea, but loses its message in a shoddy presentation. Uncomfortable is good, but this video seems intended more towards creating indignation. Also, I doubt that directing people to the RRS and a rapper’s website are the most effective ways of encouraging the continuation of the process.

    Hemant: Neither are rational, but let’s recognize that not all religious beliefs bring out the worst in people.

    I think that’s probably true, but it’s by no means a self-evident statement. It could just be that certain people have less ‘worst’ to bring out. Tying into what I’ve said above, I think a video like this needs to go a step further, to force viewers to think about what actions they perform based on uncritical belief systems and whether these are justifiable outside of these systems. Case in point, blocking stem-cell research will almost certainly do more harm longterm than the hijackers featured above.

  • Miko

    atheism was/is a large part of the communistic thinking. No god= no human soul, which somehow arrived at the idea of less human worth (unless you fit some sort of elite requirement). It was definitely a screwed up lack of belief in humanity, but atheism did play a part.

    I’d say this is a mischaracterization of the role of atheism within communistic thought. Atheism within communism steps from Marx’s identification of it as the “opium of the masses,” namely, the system by which those with power were able to continue to exercise it over those who lacked it. Communism was opposed to religion because of its use in oppressing the Volkes, not because of any conception of human souls or human worth. A significant faction of the women’s rights movement did the same exact thing (e.g., Sanger’s “No Gods, No Masters”) for the same exact reason, yet it did not lead to a diminished view of human worth. Similarly, it was not this idea that led to that result in totalitarianism. (I’ll take the fact that you explain the logical linkage between the ideas as “somehow arrived at” as indicative that you don’t see any real connection between them either).

    Atheism was a part of communism, and communism was a part of totalitarianism. Yet the fault lay exclusively with totalitarianism, not with atheism nor with communism themselves.

  • Arlen

    Richard Wade and Miko:

    The turning of people into things by the communists had nothing to do with a lack of belief in gods. It was a lack of belief in the value of humanity.

    Atheism was a part of communism, and communism was a part of totalitarianism. Yet the fault lay exclusively with totalitarianism, not with atheism or with communism themselves.

    Maybe religion itself isn’t the problem any more than atheism itself is the problem. Perhaps the fault in both cases lies with the leverage of power by those who undervalue human life, with the socio-political power plays of totalitarians rather than the philosophy of a people. I’d hate for either of you to imply a double-standard.

  • JeffN

    The video. Whatever. Interesting discussion but at least it was a civil one. I think there’s something to be said for that.

  • ash

    Maybe religion itself isn’t the problem any more than atheism itself is the problem. Perhaps the fault in both cases lies with the leverage of power by those who undervalue human life, with the socio-political power plays of totalitarians rather than the philosophy of a people. I’d hate for either of you to imply a double-standard.

    atheism (being a lack of belief in god/s) is not comparable with religion, in that religion has taken a base idea to which has been added practise, ritual, doctrine, dogma, etc…for double standards to apply, one would have to argue that although atheism is not a problem, pantheism (as an equivalent single issue without added dimensions) was surely to blame for evil regimes.

  • Darryl

    I think just the opposite of what Hemant concluded: All religious beliefs bring out the worst in people. It’s the character of the people that’s determinative. Violent, ignorant, and stupid people are drawn to violence, ignorance, and stupidity.

  • JeffN

    Darryl said,

    February 4, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I think just the opposite of what Hemant concluded: All religious beliefs bring out the worst in people. It’s the character of the people that’s determinative. Violent, ignorant, and stupid people are drawn to violence, ignorance, and stupidity.

    So does that apply to all religious people are just the ones of your choosing?.

    I don’t think that’s what you were implying but you can see how it could be read that way. :)

  • Darryl

    It has been my experience that good people find the good in religion and ignore the bad, and vice versa; that’s what I meant.

  • JeffN

    Thanks for pointing that out.


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