Monday, 16 November 2009

Who is to Blame?


How often have any of you heard this refrain:

"Blame people for bad acts, not Xianity..."

or this:

"People will use Xianity to prop up their evil deeds, but they'd be just as evil without it..."

It's an old refrain. People are bad/sinful/wicked/evil, and if we get rid of religion, they'll just find some other reason to be bad/sinful/wicked/evil. So, why focus our efforts on stopping religion?

But, is this really so? Certain behaviors and thoughts are learned, and learning that it is OK to be bigoted or sexist is not OK. Why should we not point out when a teaching fosters and encourages these types of thoughts or deeds? If someone grows up being taught that women are meant to be subservient to men and then acts on it thinking nothing is wrong, should we really lay all the blame on the man and not on the teaching that lead to his actions?

No, we should point out those teachings that are wrong and we should seek to correct them and/or end them. It's not enough to simply shrug our shoulders and say, "People are evil, what can you do?" We should raise up and proclaim quite loudly how immoral most religious teachings are and advocate that people should throw off the shackles of these antiquated religions and strive to become the moral people that they should be. It's a much better idea that giving up. In fact, that's just what apologists hope we will do so that they can continue to propagate their ideas without resistance and enjoy their unearned and undeserved place in culture. We must not let them have it without a fight.

24 comments:

Tracy said...

I'll give you that lots of behaviors are learned.

But, you can go places in the world that are without religion, and you will still find that people sometimes do wrong things toward others. You will still find the stronger taking advantage of the weak. We can all say why we think this happens. I think it happens because all humans are born with a propensity toward selfishness.

I'll also give you that why I think you will always find some people dong wrong, with or without religion, can not be PROVED. Neither can the reasons you will say this happens. Not everything in life can be proven.

Twin-Daddy said...

Some people are good, some people are just evil at heart. Believing in Jesus, Allah, or whoever, people are still the same. Plenty of christians are evil, and plenty are good. Religion chose to create "sin" so it could get all people at the same starting point. Religion is great at creating a problem for people, and then trying to offer a solution. In reality, I don't believe in "sin" at all. I believe people make mistakes, it's just human. If animals had reasoning ability..they would make mistakes to. TO add insult to injury, telling people that sin is going to cause them to burn in hell.. is sad and smells like extortion.. It's also a control mechanism used by just about every religion that ever was...

ethinethin said...

If animals had reasoning ability..they would make mistakes to.

Humans are alone in neither their reasoning ability nor their ability to make mistakes.

TO add insult to injury, telling people that sin is going to cause them to burn in hell.. is sad and smells like extortion.. It's also a control mechanism used by just about every religion that ever was...

Yes, along with requiring believing in something without evidence (faith), since no religion has ever been able to provide evidence. It keeps the flock from asking too many questions (and then when they honestly have doubts, they try to hide and bury them and feel guilty about them!).

GCT said...

Let me be clear:

I'm not saying that no one would do anything wrong if there were no religions. I'm not saying that religion is the only reason that anyone does anything wrong.

What I am saying is that we shouldn't simply give up and claim that religion shouldn't be criticized simply because it is only one reason out of many that people do wrong. I'm also saying that the learned behaviors from religious teaching can and do encourage people to do wrong, and that this should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

So you're in favor of suing video game manufacturers when children kill their parents too then?

Or death metal music?

GCT said...

I wasn't aware that those things teach the subjugation of women and killing infidels was a good thing. Oh wait, they don't.

Anonymous said...

You don't think they do? Have you ever played Grand Theft Auto? Have you listened to any rap music?

If you want to start being against anything that is a negative influence on society, you have to do it across the board. Don't just pick a pet project like religion. Oh wait... it's not "cool" or "edgy" to be against video games or popular music, is it?

GCT said...

Dipiction of violence is different from teaching violence.

GTA may be rough and may be violent (both are true) but it doesn't tell you that it's good to be this way. Contrast that with many religions that teach the subjugation of women is a good thing or that violence against infidels is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't teach you it's good to do these things? Do you not excel at the game and improve your score by doing these things? You even act them out in the course of the game. That's certainly not done in church.

Again, if you're going to make this argument, you either have to apply it to other things as well, or it just becomes a form of anti-semetism.

GCT said...

Anon,
You're really reaching here. This is especially evidence since now you claim that I'm espousing anti-Jewish arguments. So, let me break it down for you:

The Bible is given as a guide for people to live their lives. This same Bible teaches that women are inferior, gays should be shunned and killed, all those who don't believe in the one true god should be killed as well, etc. (Note, the Koran and other scriptures also have some pretty heinous teachings, so I'm not just picking on the Bible here.) Reading the Bible teaches that it is not only preferrable to live one's life this way, but that it is good and moral to do so. It is good and moral to deny equal rights to women (and yes, this does happen in church).

Playing GTA, for example, is quite a different thing. It depicts violence, it even rewards you with passing a mission, but it never says that these things are good and moral, and it never instructs you to do these things as part of your life. (It's also marketed to adults in contradistinction to how religions try to warp young minds early in order to get a hold on them as quickly as possible.)

Pointing this out is not anti-Jewish, nor is it inconsistent since there are differences, even if you refuse to see them in your zeal to try and 'save your religion as being just as bad as that other thing.'

Tyler said...

Tracy: But, you can go places in the world that are without religion, and you will still find that people sometimes do wrong things toward others. You will still find the stronger taking advantage of the weak.

Of course, the point is, religion doesn't make a damn bit of difference. Religion, in fact, often justifies treating people like shit. Your own religion is nothing more than blackmail, where your god demands worship or else really bad things will happen to you. If that's not the strong taking advantage of the weak, you don't know what is.

Tracy: I think it happens because all humans are born with a propensity toward selfishness.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with being selfish.

Tracy: Not everything in life can be proven.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things;

Anonymous said...

"This same Bible teaches that women are inferior, gays should be shunned and killed, all those who don't believe in the one true god should be killed as well, etc"

The Bible teaches that women are not eligible for certain jobs. Not a matter of inferiority.

Gays are simply sinners, and we are to love them, and try to help them get out of that cycle of sin. We are not commanded to kill them in any way.

Unbelievers are to be ministered to, not killed.

I can't believe you would even assert that religion is more influencial on young children than GTA.

Tyler said...

Anon: The Bible teaches that women are not eligible for certain jobs. Not a matter of inferiority.

If it's not a matter of inferiority, what is it a matter of, then?

Anon: Gays are simply sinners, and we are to love them, and try to help them get out of that cycle of sin.

:snort: There's nothing wrong with homosexuality. There is something wrong with people who think there's something wrong with homosexuality.

Anon: We are not commanded to kill them in any way.

:snort: Yes you are.

Anon: Unbelievers are to be ministered to, not killed.

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." - Jesus

Tracy said...

Tyler-would you please give a Bible reference (book, chapter, verse) for that quote from Jesus.

Tyler said...

Sure thing. As soon as you answer the questions I've asked you that you've ignored (Doubting Thomas thread, specifically), I'll be happy to answer your question by citing the location of that quote. :)

Anonymous said...

Tracy- Not to be a troll, but can you not be bothered to Google it? If you're unable to even do that 30 seconds worth of research, you probably shouldn't be posting here.

Tyler said...

There's some irony for ya...

Mackenzie said...

Guess I need to use a name to distinguish myself from the other Anonymous commenter(s), unless there actually is something ironic about telling someone to Google something.

But really.. if playing GTA teaches people the things that some other anonymous people seem to think it does, I wonder how they ever work up the courage to leave their home.
Considering how many tens of millions of copies of that game series have been sold, just imagine..

ethinethin said...

It is the age of google. When I read that quote from Tyler, I was curious of the source as well, so I copied and pasted it into google. It honestly took less time than typing up the question and then entering the word verification would take!

ethinethin said...

Also want to mention that it was a brilliant example of quote mining. Creationists are always quoting scientists in a similar manner (taking a comment about god out of its context to make it seem like the scientist is religious).

Tyler said...

I've seen that accusation leveled at many people (christian and non-christian alike) many times, but I've yet to see the context of that passage explained in a manner that changes the meaning of that verse.

While that verse is not the only message in the passage, it's certainly not a quote mine/taken out of context standing on its own.

ethinethin said...

I don't really claim to understand the parable, but it is the big J telling a story. The line you quoted is a character in the parable saying it.

I guess there's some substance in the parable that has some distinctive meaning you're trying to make, but quoted by itself it sounds like the big J is asking his disciples to bring forth and slaughter nonbelievers at his feet (he's not).

Tyler said...

ethinethin: I don't really claim to understand the parable...

:snort:

Just as Jesus intended. (re Mark 4:10-12)

But seriously, it's not hard to understand. A tyrant (Jesus/god) gives some of his underlings (us pathetic humans) a test as he heads off to conquer more people. He comes back. Some people pass the test, one person in particular doesn't. But, those (us non-christians) who don't/refuse to submit to the authority of the tyrant (Jesus/god) are to be rounded up and slaughtered.

ethinenin: ... but it is the big J telling a story.

Yes. Yes it is.

ethinethin: The line you quoted is a character in the parable saying it.

Right. And that character is, allegorically, Jesus/god.

ethinethin: I guess there's some substance in the parable that has some distinctive meaning you're trying to make...

Again, there is more than one substantive message in the parable.

ethinethin: ... but quoted by itself it sounds like the big J is asking his disciples to bring forth and slaughter nonbelievers at his feet (he's not).

That's exactly what he's doing. Nothing else in the parable is relevant to that line. Therefore, that the line is quoted by itself doesn't change the fact that Jesus is, allegorically, calling for the deaths of those who refuse to submit to his authority.

Maynard said...

To the first anonymous:
We should say that the bad acts depicted in music, video games, scripture, etc. are not view points to base your own actions. Nor are they good because of the context or culture they were derived from.

Take gangster rap for example: There are seriously bad acts depicted in some of the lyrics, like murder. But people who mimic them are punished by society.
Now take the bible: There are seriously bad acts depicted in some of the scriptures, like murder. Shouldn't people who mimic them be punished by society?

Justification from an NWA album or holy text will still get you locked up.

Question: If people can sue artists and video game producers for inciting violence, does that mean we can sue the clergy for the same?