What Has Religion Done for Us This Month? Episode 5

Daniel is back with another montage of some of the awful things done in the name of God over the past month:

(via ConversationWithA)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Rando

    And cue Commie Pres or Michele to make the usual excuses and No True Scotsman Fallacies…

  • Daniel In The Lions’ Den

    Nice summary of religious abuses and scandals. Hard to watch all the way through…..

  • Jhudstone

    If a video were produced in exactly the same sort of montage that said something like, “Awful things done by black people”, and then simply strung together a series of news reports about crimes involving black people, by the atheist logic, that would demonstrate black people are evil.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      I’m sorry that you’re too ignorant to know the difference between race and religion or between a religion and a person, too stupid to grasp that “many evil actions are empowered by religion” is not the same as “religious people are evil”, and not quite literate enough to know what the word “logic” means. You got a little Dunning-Kruger on your chin there.

      And don’t pretend that you watched the video before typing. Jesus doesn’t love lies.

      • Jhudstone

        I love how ‘friendly’ the atheists are here. :)

        Other than a string of ad homs, you did nothing to address the main contention. The video is simply a compendium of unrelated events vaguely understood to have some ‘religious’ motivation. The fact is the world is filled with violence. Overtly atheistic societies (like Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, N. Korea now) are very violent and repressive places – yet we shouldn’t conclude from that that atheism is particularly inclined to violence.

        Steven Pinker did a pretty good job chronicling the basis for human violence in his book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’, and it isn’t particularly tied to ‘religion’ in general.

        The atheist tendency to conflate religions and attempt smear them as all contributing to violence and repression is as wrong as white supremacists attempting to smear racial groups in the same way.

        • Mario Strada

          Since when is N.Korea “atheistic”? Have you actually read anything about N.K.? What atheistic country would have a myth about their departed leader where he essentially a divine figure taken to heaven on the wings of cranes? Give me a break with your old, tired comments. we get someone like you here at least twice a day. It’d be nice sometimes to have an intelligent conversation instead of these trite, unimaginative arguments.

          • Jhudstone

            I have read quite a bit about North Korea – I highly recommend
            Nothing to Envy
            by Barbara Demick for an personal account of North Korean society.

            But having a mythology doesn’t mean it’s not atheistic – removing the worship of gods invariably invites the veneration of some man or philosophy. Happened in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, etc.

            Which just goes to prove the point you failed to address – humans are capable of being violent quite apart from any particular religious notions. The video does nothing but cherry pick incidents and proves nothing.

      • SJH

        Charles, Jhudstone has a valid point though he/she may have worded his/her final sentence inappropriately according to your post. Perhaps you might change that last line to read, “by atheist logic, that would demonstrate that black people are empowered by their blackness to be evil”

        Your comment however does not make sense because religion has no power. Individuals have power to choose to do evil and individuals choose to use their beliefs for good or evil. Christians, Muslims, Scientists, Atheists all do this. We use our power to oppress someone else whom we choose to oppose. You just did it with your comment. You use the power of the internet to attempt to silence another by insulting him/her and attempting to make him/her look stupid to everyone else. You made a judgement about Jhudstone. You threw reason out the window and replaced it with emotion, anger and hate. Most decidedly not friendly and most decidedly not good.

        • DavidMHart

          Sure, some of these vignettes are simply about crimes and other unpleasantness committed by people who happen to be religious. But some are crimes that they wouldn’t have been remotely as likely to do if the people in question hadn’t been in a position of authority that they were able to abuse – and the ideas behind religions almost always involve a degree of deference towards priests and pastors that allows sexual abuse to flourish. Religious people can empower sexual predators, and can do this precisely because of some of their religious ideas.

          And some of the things here – I’m thing particularly the Bangladeshi Islamists marching in favour of the death penalty for thoughtcrimes – are things which you couldn’t even imagine people doing unless their moral compass had been utterly warped by their religious beliefs.

          • Jhudstone

            School systems and daycares can empower sexual predators. Therefore, education and childcare is evil. *atheist logic*

            • DavidMHart

              I think you may have missed the point. Any organisation that involves a hierarchical power structure can empower sexual predators … and any such organisation that regularly deals with children is going to be especially attractive to child molesters. The challenge is to weed out people that are likely to be sexual predators when they join, to keep an eye out for potential abuse when it might be happening, and to remain open and accountable so that anyone that presents a credible report of sexual abuse happening within the organisation is taken seriously (in the sense that the report is investigated, not that it is automatically believed a priori).

              Yes, school systems sometimes mess up. But religious institutions are often particularly bad at preventing sexual abuse, because of the spurious authority vested in the priests or pastors, because of the lack of transparency, because of the community giving its people-of-god the benefit of the doubt as a matter of course, because of the institutional reflex to cover up scandal rather than deal with it honestly and in the open, and in some cases, notably the Roman Catholic Church, because of their doctrinal refusal to allow their clergy to have normal sexual relations with adults as equal partners (or, in the case of patriarchal religions in general, to delegitimise the idea of male and female partners even being equal).

              The point is not that schools and daycare centres never mess up and let sexual predators into their ranks; the point is that religions are often systematically biased in favour of organisational and social structures that empower sexual predators, and often for explicitly religious reasons.

              • Jhudstone

                So you have statistics demonstrating that in the US, the incidence of sexual predation is higher among clergy? That secular institutions don’t cover it up?

                Take a look at the number of teachers that pop-up in even a recent news search concerning sexual involvement with students. It’s absurd to pretend this is a religious problem, and even dangerous, because it perpetuates the illusion that attacking religion diminishes the threat.

                • DavidMHart

                  Of course secular institutions sometimes cover up sexual predation. Of course it’s a problem. But the difference is that secular organisations don’t tend to have non-reality-based ideologies that justify systematic neglect of the problem.

                  To pick the most famous example, the Catholic sex abuse scandal is one that famously encompasses the whole world, involves the higher-ups shuffling paedophile priests around to new parishes rather than reporting them to the secular authorities. This is a problem that appears to go right to the top.

                  And it’s a problem that would be much reduced if people weren’t willing to submit themselves and their children to unaccountable authorities for no good reason (the Church is not providing any useful service that could not be provided by secular organisations that lacked the hierarchical power structure, the claimed authority to speak on behalf of supernatural powers and the ridiculous claims of being a moral authority).

                  But having read your other comments here, I get the impression you may be misunderstanding the position here in general.

                  No one is claiming that religions are the root of all bad human behaivour. The point is that religions give people plausible-but-bogus reasons to do bad things that they would be less likely to do if they did not have those reasons, and do not really offer any reality-based reasons to behave well that wouldn’t be equally available without religions. Religions aren’t the cause of all harm by a long shot, but they cause more harm than they prevent. And they do so precisely because their central claims are almost-certainly false. There are other ideologies that are not strictly theistic religions that also cause more harm than they prevent; the North Korean Juche ideology of course being one of them. But they cause more harm than they prevent for the same sorts of reasons that religions do – namely their failure to adequately map reality.

                  And by the way, you can remove the worship of gods without imposing the ‘worship of man’ quite easily. Just about every country in Western Europe, Japan, Australia and many others have comfortable standards of living, relative peace and security, and populations where

                  those who do not consider religion to be an important part of their lives far out numbers those who do. The problem in North Korea is that not that people stopped believing in gods and decided to fill the void by deifying Kim Il Sung; the problem is that a narcissistic maniac managed to get himself into a position of power and engineer a society where everyone was required to deify him and his descendents. If decline in religiosity were a causal precursor of tyrranny, we would expect places like Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan and Iceland to be among the most oppressive societies on Earth. Instead, the most oppressive societies tend to be those where the proponents of some reality-deficient ideology or other, be it Juche in North Korea’s case, Maoist Communism in China’s case, Wahhabi Islam in the case of Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, Evangelical Christianity parts of Africa such as the homosexual-persecuting Uganda or the witch-killing Nigeria, or some amalgam of residual Communist-derived authoritarianism and Orthodox Christianity in the case of Russia, etc, etc, has managed to gain control of the levers of power. And yes, some reality-deficient ideologies are worse than others. I’ll freely grant you that as they are practiced today Islam is probably more harmful for the people that live in Muslim-majority countries than Christianity is for the people who live in Christian-majority countries, and North Korean Juche is worse than Mao-style communism (though in both cases we don’t have to look very hard for historical times where the position seems to have been reversed). But the sources of human-made human misery are very often due to some sort of institutionalised unreason.

                  It is never because people have simply come to the conclusion that on present evidence the most likely number of gods in the universe is zero.

                • Jhudstone

                  I know that secularists in the US like to idealize certain societies as atheist paradises (Northern Europe and Japan typically) while ignoring the secular societies that have horrible human rights records (large portion of Eastern Europe, China, N. Korea, Vietnam) but that is just cherry picking in the other direction, and again attempting to argue by correlation.

                  And it ignores other factors that explain the lack of turmoil in certain countries, like, the influence of Western Culture (with an overtly Christian history) as well as age and cultural demographic similarities which have nothing to do with religion. And women don’t necessarily fair well in those countries by every measure, given the highest incidence of rape against women occur in some of the very countries you cite – Sweden and Japan for example.

                  But it’s interesting that even the video contradicts some of this. It blames the opposition in France to gay marriage on being Catholic even though statistically (as you yourself acknowledge) France is one of the most ‘secular’ places on earth. So atheists seem to want to have it both ways. Actually in my experience they want to have it all ways – basically cherry picking stats willy-nilly to prop up their ideology and completely ignoring any points to the contrary of which there are many. It signifies an intellectual insecurity and immaturity which thankfully some atheists seem to be growing out of, but which still lingers in many places like this one.

                • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

                  The pseudo-communist states might have been doctrinally atheistic, but they were *not* secular. There was more official idol worship than you could shake a sickle at.

                • Jhudstone

                  What is an ‘idol’ if no gods exist?

                • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

                  Something non-god that’s idolized?

                • Jhudstone

                  An idol is an object of worship. Doesn’t that make it a god, at least in the mind of the worshipper?

                • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

                  It can. But I don’t think anyone thinks, for example, Justin Bieber has magical powers.

                • Jhudstone

                  I don’t know, there is some evidence that several thousand young teenage girls think just that.

            • JRC

              You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

              • Jhudstone

                I actually agree – *atheist logic* with regard to this issue is an oxymoron.

            • RobMcCune

              Translation: I’m not bothered in the slightest when religion motivates people to do wrong, I’m only offended when someone points it out.

              *religious thinking*

              • Jhudstone

                No, I just don’t pretend that that somehow a child abused by a religious person is somehow more abused than a child abused by the member of secular institution.

    • Roy Gamsgrø

      No, your analogy is wrong.

      This isn’t a compilation showing evil deeds being done by religious people; this is what is being done in the name of or because of religion.

      Like your comment below about Stalin and Mao. Yes, it can be argued that they were atheistic leaders*, but their acts were done in the name of communism, not atheism.

      There is a difference between an atheist or Christian doing an evil act, and an act done in the name of or because of atheism or Christianity. Likewise there is a difference between a black person doing something evil and evil being done in the name of blackness.

      *Although they seemingly replaced faith by themselves rather than no faith.

      • Jhudstone

        SO what? Communism is an atheistic/materialistic philosophy. My simple point is that violence results from human nature, it isn’t tied to religious belief.

        • JRC

          Yes, but the point is that these are evil dead being done specifically because of religion, with religious motivation, in religions name. You would be hard pressed to find examples of black people doing evil specifically because they’re black, motivated by their blackness, in blacknesses name.

          Also, communism is not an atheistic philosophy. Communism is an economic and social philosophy. The fact that many communist societies have been atheistic in order to reflect Marx’s views on the subject does not make the philosophy itself atheistic.

          • Jhudstone

            And again, you miss the point. Could someone produce a video that correlates violent acts with the black community? Sure. That correlates violence with poverty? Sure. That correlate violence with certain religious communities? Sure. But correlation does not imply causation. There are plenty of black/poor/religious communities that aren’t violent at all. The thesis fails.

            And Marxism is specifically predicated on a materialistic view of nature and human history. That is inherently atheistic, if indeed atheism means to hold to the fact that no gods exist.

            • JRC

              Correlation does not imply causation, but we’re not relying on correlation to imply causation. We’re relying on suicide bombers shouting “praise Allah!” as they blow themselves up to imply causation.

              As well, there are a few things wrong with the assumptions you make in your second point. First, Communism isn’t any more predicated to a materialistic view of nature than Capitalism is, as both of them deal primarily with economic theory. Second, the only thing that is inherently atheistic is the belief that there are no gods. Nothing more or less. There is no ‘atheist worldview,’ and to say that if something is materialistic then it is atheistic is to get the definition of both words wrong.

              • Jhudstone

                Yes, because as we know, every one of the billion or so Muslims flies planes into buildings on suicide missions. And all Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists do as well. Amish would, but they shun technology.

                And if Communism is merely an economic system, then one wonders why communist leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Ils saw fit to murder tens of millions of individuals. To make an economic point?

                • JRC

                  Our argument- or at least my argument- has never been that all religious people do bad things, but rather that bad things are done in the name of religion, and they are done with enough regularity to merit concern.

                  Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot murdered millions of people because they were psychopaths who had no regard for human life. If you’re going to imply that Communism causes violence, or that Marxism encourages the slaughter of your own citizens then you’re going to have to provide some evidence, and draw a link between the two.

                • Jhudstone

                  So the fact that they were all atheistic leaders of Marxist regimes is merely coincidental, and has no bearing on the unprecedented levels of deaths that occurred under their regimes, and the fact that religious people who constitute five billion individuals, the vast majority of whom aren’t in any way involved in the actions cited, and you see pernicious evil in religion and none in atheistic Marxism?

                  What more evidence could possibly be given?

                • JRC

                  My responses are in parentheses.
                  “So the fact that they were all atheistic leaders of Marxist regimes is merely coincidental,”

                  (Communism was spreading at the time to many different countries. They were atheists due in part to coincidence, part because of Marx’s views on religion.)

                  “and has no bearing on the unprecedented levels of deaths that occurred under their regimes”

                  (One could make the argument that it was their economic policies that contributed to the widespread deaths due to starvation, and their political policies and paranoia that led them to murder thousands of people on a more personal level, but it would be difficult to make the argument that they did any of these things because of their atheism. If you can somehow connect the two things, instead of just saying ‘look, these bad people were athiests, thus athiesm must be bad; how much more proof do you need?’ then please do.

                  As I see it, the only think that Stalin did that was done specifically because of his atheism was the forced abolition of religion and destruction of churches, something which I disagree with and would never advocate for. Even then, he had other motives behind destroying churches, as they’d get in the way of his cult of personality.)

                  “and the fact that religious people who constitute five billion
                  individuals, the vast majority of whom aren’t in any way involved in the
                  actions cited, and you see pernicious evil in religion and none in
                  atheistic Marxism?”

                  This is what I see:

                  There is much evil done in the world that has religion as its clearly defined cause. There is enough of this evil to have a visible impact on society, to significantly alter world politics, and to affect the majority of people who (although this is less true in countries outside America) do not hold extreme views.

                  On the other hand, it is much more difficult to say that there is evil being done in the world by atheists, in the name of atheism, because of atheism. Are there examples of it happening? Probably. But do they approach the scale of the damage and intrusion done by those who are motivated by religion? I personally think that they do not, and I am of the opinion that any unbiased look at the evidence will result in the same conclusion. I would guess that you’d feel differently.

                • Jhudstone

                  Communism was spreading at
                  the time to many different countries. They were atheists due in part to
                  coincidence, part because of Marx’s views on religion

                  Yes, Marx’s views were atheistic – obviously that
                  would appeal to atheists. This doesn’t mitigate what I said.

                  One could make the argument
                  that it was their economic policies that contributed to the widespread deaths
                  due to starvation, and their political policies and paranoia that led them to
                  murder thousands of people on a more personal level, but it would be difficult
                  to make the argument that they did any of these things because of their
                  atheism. If you can somehow connect the two things, instead of just saying
                  ‘look, these bad people were athiests, thus athiesm must be bad; how much more
                  proof do you need?’ then please do.

                  As I see it, the only think that Stalin did
                  that was done specifically because of his atheism was the forced abolition of
                  religion and destruction of churches, something which I disagree with and would
                  never advocate for. Even then, he had other motives behind destroying churches,
                  as they’d get in the way of his cult of personality.

                  In a sense I agree, I don’t know that their
                  atheism was anymore the primary motivation for their evils than was ‘religion’ that
                  you claim motivates particular evils. I think humans are inherently corruptible
                  by power and ambition and material gain, and they will glom onto or twist any
                  belief to justify their desires. This is consistent with the evil we see
                  amongst the religious and irreligious – but one cannot deny that the absence of
                  religion makes humans less capable of evil – these unprecedented intentional
                  horrors of these regimes prove that.

                  There is much evil done in
                  the world that has religion as its clearly defined cause. There is enough of
                  this evil to have a visible impact on society, to significantly alter world
                  politics, and to affect the majority of people who (although this is less true
                  in countries outside America) do not hold extreme views.

                  No, there are evil people in the world that justify their actions by specific
                  tenets derived from particular religions. Just as there are evil people in the
                  world that justify their actions by specific tenets derived from particular socio-economic
                  ideas. Just as there are evil people in the world that justify their actions by
                  specific tenets derived from scientific ideas. Just as there are evil people in
                  the world that justify their actions from particular feelings they have, or
                  things they are addicted to, or desires that possess them. This doesn’t mean
                  either religion or politics or economics or science or feelings or desires are
                  intrinsically evil.

                  On the other hand, it is much more difficult to say that
                  there is evil being done in the world by atheists, in the name of atheism,
                  because of atheism. Are there examples of it happening? Probably. But do they
                  approach the scale of the damage and intrusion done by those who are motivated
                  by religion? I personally think that they do not, and I am of the opinion that
                  any unbiased look at the evidence will result in the same conclusion. I would
                  guess that you’d feel differently.

                  I cited several that constitute the deaths of tens of
                  millions
                  . And not just because the economies went wrong – because whole
                  populations were intentionally slaughtered. And in the West, those making excuses
                  for regimes like Stalin’s were on the secular left. And one doesn’t have to
                  point only to communist regimes, but to the French revolution and the
                  government of Plutarco Elías Calles in Mexico as well. So not so difficult to
                  find examples if one is inclined to look objectively.

                • JRC

                  And again, I would contest that those evils are being done in athiesm’s name, instead of just by people who happened to be athiests. Just as there are evils done by religous people that are not done because of or in the name of their religion, there are evils done by athiests
                  that are not rooted in athiesm.

                  This debate could go on forever probably, but I feel like we’d just be repeating ourselves and debating over specific examples. So I’m going to stop now. Nice talking to you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

            Actually I think you can find examples of black people doing evil in the name of blackness. People like Bill Cosby have brought up this issue (and been critisized for their views). He claims that black people are holding themselves back by glorifying gangsters, drug culture, anti-law enforcement and a disregard for education. These things are seen by some blacks as being part of their “black culture” and keep them from achieving at the same level as whites. Even Michelle Obama talks about having to “buck the trend” and being made fun of by other blacks in school when she started getting good grades and taking challenging classes.

            A black kid dropping out of school to sell drugs is doing something evil, and it was his own choice to do it, but the “black culture” that is telling him that it’s a “cool” thing to do is certainly partially to blame.

            In the same way, a Christian protesting at the funeral of a terrorist bombing victim is doing something evil, by his own choice, but the religion that tells him this is the right thing to do certainly shares the blame for his evil deed.

            I don’t believe that people are inherently evil, (except, perhaps, in a few cases of severe mental illness) but I do blame religions for promoting hate and intolerance and brainwashing its followers into thinking it’s OK to kill/jail/discriminate against anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      1. religion is a choice, “race” is not.

      2. religion makes strong claims to be “a force for good,” people of the same/a race make no common claims.

      3. religious leaders claim to be “special” and above the rest of us in terms of morality, behavior, and understanding of what is ‘right.’ they take oaths to that affect, before their god(s). people of a certain race make no claims like this, unless you’re talking about extremist groups like the Aryan Brotherhood.

      4. this video and others like are are only a small sample of what a dedicated researcher could find every month, and because they deal with the religious the incidence of them should be 0%. you obviously don’t know that much about african american crime statistics compared to the global population; they are miniscule.

      5. this and all of these videos are global and cover any and all religions. that alone is a significant fact. you reveal your own racism by using african-americans and crime as a strawman.

      • Jhudstone

        The point of the comparison is the correlation does not imply causation. And worse yet, it conflates all religions as if Christian societies are the same as Muslim societies, which is obviously not the case.

        • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

          No one is saying Christians are the same as Muslims, we are just saying that both are guilty of spreading hate and intolerance, in their own way.

          • Jhudstone

            Every imaginable human idea has been used to spread ‘hate and intolerance’ – which tells us that the ideas aren’t the problem.

            • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

              Yes, the ideas aren’t the problem, and the people aren’t the problem. It’s the people using the ideas to spread hate and intolerance that are the problem.

              It seems like a lot of your arguments here are based on how you say something, but I think we’ve found some common ground at last.

              Religion itself is not a problem, but it is the people who use religious ideas to do all kinds of horrible things that cause so much grief and sorrow in the world.

              • Jhudstone

                It’s the people using the ideas to spread hate and intolerance that are the problem.

                Well yes, exactly.

                Religion itself is not a problem, but it is the people who use religious ideas to do all kinds of horrible things that cause so much grief and sorrow in the world.

                I agree absolutely, though I would add that not all religious ideas are equal in that respect. “Love your neighbor as yourself” or “Consider
                others interest before your own” obviously are not ideas that can readily be converted to evil.

    • RobMcCune

      By religious logic, their actions are totally the same as a biologically determined set of features. Authoritarianism, superstition and conformity are an intrinsic part of religion throughout the world and human history. These are terrible things that are futile and pointless because religion is false.

      • Jhudstone

        And apparently apart of atheistic regimes as well…which proves my point. Again.

        • RobMcCune

          Your point is a strawman that amounts to being more offended that someone pointed out recent crimes and abuses enabled or caused by religion than by the wrongs themselves. That you’re reacting against the video rather than what it shows is part of the problem.

          Fact is that religion is promoting this stuff throughout the world, whether or not it’s every religious person. Every month one of these videos gets posted, and every month someone like you misses the point and assumes it’s talking about every religious believer. I hate to burst your righteous indignation bubble, but it’s not about you.

          There are good reasons to believe religion is a key part of many of the stories shown in the video. the fact authorianism, conformity and superstition can exist apart from religion does nothing to validate your point or invalidate the video or my previous comment. That you compared the video to racism and then went on a tear about Stalin and Mao shows just how skewed your priorities are.

          • Jhudstone

            The video is the strawman – my point is merely one of logic, that correlation does not imply causation, and that the video conflates completely different religions as if all religious ideas have the same effects. It is complete and utter nonsense, demonstrably so.

            One could easily create a compilation of religious charities going about their work each month, though obviously the news doesn’t report that, because it doesn’t ‘bleed’. But if one did, could we conclude ‘religion’ is specifically beneficial to humanity?

            And one could hang out in atheistic societies and find plenty of violence and repression. Which would prove about as much as this video does. But I don’t expect you to understand this because your predispositions obviously incline you to accept logical fallacies.

            • RobMcCune

              that correlation does not imply causation

              Stated motivation is a good guide though. I noticed how you ignored what I wrote and kept spewing the same talking points about the video. Again, the video catalogued wrongs done by religion, but doesn’t seek to characterize all religious people that way.

              Many religious beliefs has common elements, ideas such as holieness and the sacred. The believer usually can only access these through an intermediary, this lends itself to authoritarianism, blind obedience, absolutism, superstition, and the desire for conformity, which are behind much of the video’s content. You haven’t addressed this argument, nor have you made a case that these when these elements are found in religion that it is not due to religion.

              But I don’t expect you to understand this because your predispositions obviously incline you to accept logical fallacies.

              Funny, since you’re the one not addressing arguments. Also I am not the one who is more aggrieved that someone compiled a list of recent wrong-doings on the part of people motivated by faith, than the sickening acts themselves. That predisposition of yours is particularly disturbing and seem to be the reason you’re trying to block out information you don’t like.

              • Jhudstone

                Oh please. The video is self-titled “What religion has contributed to the world this month” not what certain religious people have done this month, or what certain religiously motivated zealots have done this month. It is no more sophisticated than ‘documentaries’ about Jews running the world banks systems. It’s visual propaganda, not analysis. It’s tripe, and would be tripe whatever view it claimed to support.

                And we have already established that secular philosophies can lead one to ” authoritarianism, blind obedience, absolutism, superstition, and the desire for conformity”. It’s simply not a religious characteristic, but a human one. In fact, many religious believers have been instrumental in resisting those aspects of human culture.

                You should be “aggrieved” by any mindless propaganda as should any person of reason. The fact that you are defending it is rather sad, but not atypical.

                • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

                  i gave you 5 points to refute. try.

                • Jhudstone

                  1. religion is a choice, “race” is not.

                  Point is irrelevant – I wasn’t comparingreligion and race, I comparing how correlation doesn’t imply causation, whatever the imagined motivation.

                  2. religion makes strong claims to be “a force for good,” people of the same/a race make no common claims.

                  See above. Point irrelevant.

                  3. religious leaders claim to be “special” and above the rest of us in terms of morality, behavior, and understanding of what is ‘right.’ they take oaths to that affect, before their god(s). people of a certain race make no claims like this, unless you’re talking about extremist groups like the Aryan Brotherhood.

                  See above – Point irrelevant. So far you seem not to understand the original argument I made. At. All.

                  4. this video and others like are are only a small sample of what a dedicated researcher could find every month, and because they deal with the religious the incidence of them should be 0%.

                  Why? I don’t know any religion that claims that anyone who
                  calls themselves ‘x’ won’t do anything anyone considers evil. In fact, given religions vary significantly by belief, the point is nonsensical.

                  you obviously don’t know that much about african american crime statistics compared to the global population; they are miniscule.

                  I never made any claims about such statistics – again, it is irrelevant to the point. But feel free to actually cite the statistics you imagine exist.

                  5. this and all of
                  these videos are global and cover any and all religions. that alone is a significant fact. you reveal your own racism by using african-americans and crime as a strawman.

                  No, ignorance on your part does not constitute racism on my part. I said stringing together a series of crimes involving ‘religious’ people and claiming this was because of some quality inherent in all religions is as logically fallacious as if one attribute crimes committed by African Americans to African American communities as a whole. Capiche?

                  Now perhaps you could make some real points pertaining to what I actually said.

            • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

              I don’t think the video is trying to say religions are the same. It is merely pointing out all the atrocities done in the name of some religion in the last month. No one is disputing the fact that some individual churches and religious people have also done an awful lot of good things in the last month, and I think we all sincerely hope that the good out weighs the bad. But does that make it OK to just ignore the bad? Does that make it OK for a religion to say atheist should be stoned?

              What I don’t understand is why religious people aren’t equally, if not more, horrified by the things in this video. If I did believe in god, I would be outraged by the interpretation of my savior by some of these extremists, as it is, I see all this as just a part of the on-going human rights abuses that are so sadly a part of our world. I do what I can, but I know it will never be enough.

              • Jhudstone

                Actually, it doesn’t attempt to attribute any atrocities to any religion. It attempts to pick out certain evils (or even unpleasantness) and vaguely associate it with ‘religion’ in general, even though ‘religion’ in general doesn’t actually exist in any meaningful way. There is absolutely no attempt at all to go beyond this to any sort of understanding, merely a logically fallacious attempt to make all religions culpable for every act done by any presumably religious persons. It’s a joke, and anyone attempting to attribute worth to such propaganda obviously has no regard for reason.

                Pointing this out doesn’t justify any evil, nor reduce the horror at human suffering. In fact the video perpetuates such suffering by wrongly attributing it to an imaginary cause. If a person claims that a home burned down because of it was built from wood, and I point out this is incidental to the actual cause, it doesn’t mean I am not sympathetic to the person who lost the house, it means I am more concerned about actually understanding than an appeal to emotional irrationality.

                • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  My house wasn’t burned down because it was made of wood, my house was burned down because a mob of angry Christians set it on fire after my son complained about the Christian assemblies going on during the school day at the public school he attends. I blame religion. Yes, I know, not all Christians are evil, I know not all religion is evil, but it was Christian ideas and incited the angry mob and words from their bible that they used to justify their actions. You are free argue as long as you want about whether or not “religion” is a thing, but whatever it is, I hold it at least partially responsible for burning down my house.

                • Jhudstone

                  Well, if that had happened, or even happened occasionally, you might have a point.

                  But I am sure you (and every atheist on this forum) have never had your house burned down by a ‘mob of angry Christians’. Hemant Mehta freely demeans Christians every single day, exposing himself to tens of millions of Christians, and lives quite comfortably without fear of violent retribution. I am not sure one needs more proof that religion doesn’t necessarily incline folks to violence.

                • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/15/whatever-happened-to-the-young-atheist-whose-family-filed-a-lawsuit-against-a-christian-rapper-and-a-school-district/

                  Well, personally, I find death threats and actually having your house burned down to be disturbingly similar, but maybe that’s just me.

                  I also think some of the things in that video are just as bad, or worse, than having your house burnt down, but again that’s just my opinion.

                • Jhudstone

                  Well yes, as one who has been threatened by atheists, I agree it’s disturbing. But I don’t think that it is the product of atheism per se.

    • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

      You might have a point if you could somehow demonstrate that all of the evil things done by black people are being done BECAUSE they are black. The video is not a list of crimes committed by Christians (or some other religion) but rather a list of atrocities committed IN THE NAME OF RELIGION. There is a huge difference.

      • Jhudstone

        No one has ever done anything ‘in the name of religion’. No one in video did anything ‘in the name of religion’. So when you and the video attempts to claim these things are being done ‘in the name of religion’ it is propagating a fallacy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

          So what do you call it when someone prays to a god? Or stands at a funeral with a sign that says “God hates fags”? Or tries to restrict access to contraceptives because they go against catholic beliefs? Or wears a headscarf in public because it follows their religious beliefs? Or wears scared underwear in accordance to Mormon traditions? I’m calling it doing things “in the name of religion” because they are doing them primarily because it is part of their religious teachings. If you have a better name for it, then by all means, let me know. But that’s what I mean when I say something is done “in the name of religion”.

          • Jhudstone

            So what do you call it when someone prays to a god? Or stands at a funeral with a sign that says “God hates fags”? Or tries to restrict access to contraceptives because they go against catholic beliefs? Or wears a headscarf in public because it follows their religious beliefs? Or wears scared underwear in accordance to Mormon traditions? I’m calling it doing things “in the name of religion” because they are doing them primarily because it is part of their religious teachings. If you have a better name for it, then by all means, let me know. But that’s what I mean when I say something is done “in the name of religion”.

            First off I don’t conflate harassing people at a funeral with wearing a particular kind of underwear or headscarf. Mainly, because I am not an idiot.

            But I might call such people, I don’t know, a Westboro Baptist, a Catholic (though you misrepresented their views), a Muslim, and a Mormon respectively.

            What I don’t do is say, “Hey, that bomber cited Islam, which is a religion, and that guy who wears certain underwear cites Mormonism which is also a religion, therefore all religions cause people to do evil things.

            Again, because I am not an idiot.

            • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

              Please show me where I, or anyone in these comments except you, has ever said “all religions cause people to do evil things”. I was trying to explain to you what I meant by “in the name of religion” because you didn’t seem to understand it.

              My Mormon friends wear special underwear and don’t drink coffee, because of their religious beliefs.

              The Westboro Baptist church protests funerals with “God hates fags” signs, because of their religious beliefs.

              How are these different? Are they not both doing things in the name of their religion? Who are you to decide that one is harmless and the other is evil? Surely the Westboro baptists would tell you that they not evil, but only following God’s word and trying to restore goodness to a corrupt world.

              • Jhudstone

                I didn’t say either was evil (though I do think what the Westboro Baptists are doing is evil) – I just contended religious folk aren’t anymore inclined to evil than any other folk.

  • Jennifer

    The trolls are thick in here today.