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Barrus

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The Hitch said:
With regard to Rwanda, I agree religion was not the instigator of this. Personaly I blame imperialism. It was the Belgians which created the differences, and more importantly the French which had a very dark relationship with the Hutu militias, as it does with much of Africa

I will however make a few points. There were infamously priests which offered sanctuary to Tutsis only to let the interhamwe come in to massacre.

There were on the other hand priests who helped as well.

Also food for thought. 1 Rwanda is the most Christian country in Rwanda.

Also, showing just how unstable Africa is, Rwanda is now the probably the most peaceful country in Africa.

But to see an example where religion is causing problems in Africa the least peaceful area in the continent is atm in the nearby, Congo, Sudan, Uganda border region. There the Lords Resistance Army, a group based on a semi Christian semi voodoo beliefs is presiding over a reign of terror which makes thomas Torquemada look like The good samaratan.
The LRA has nothing really to do with religion, it is a rebel group mainly concerned with the holding and gaining of natural resources. Also the LRA themselves say that it is more based upon a tribal idea, which does explain their connection to the Acholi. Sudan as well is not based on religious, but on ethnical grounds, those of Arabic descent against those of African. Perhaps it looks to be religious, but in reality it is a combination of ethnicity and natural resources, once again.
Congo has a lot of the same problems that plagued Rwanda, and many problems with the Hutu and the Tutsi. Actually the Rwandan genocide is the cause of many of the problems in the Congo.

With the priests in Rwanda, it is also necessary to note that many priests did not invite the interhamwe in, but that through the radio many of the interhamwe came out of themselves and would kill all those inside the church, with or without the consent of the priest, in many cases even killing the priests in the progress

Also I need to state that it were not the Belgians who created the divide, the divide was already present, however the Belgians aggravted the situation in Rwanda by giving too much political power to a minority group
 
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rhubroma said:
You are blind, because you do not want to see. Buona note.
...says the guy who believes that humans would stop committing atrocities if we just stopped believing in God. I would suggest you take a scientific approach to human behavior and get back to me on that...
 
Thoughtforfood said:
No, human selfishness (etc.) has been a decisive factor. Religion is just the clothing on the body of the problem. The problem is that we are very flawed biological entities, and will kill each other regardless of rationale.

You can dismiss Stalin (like Dawkins), but the fact remains, he was an atheist acting in the absence of religion. He killed millions. Without God. Or religion.
I wont deny that atheists have been behind horrible atrocities.

But I dont know if it is accurate to call Stalin an atheist. He made himself into a god.

He opposed the major monotheisms but this doesnt automatically make him an atheist. In fact it reminds me of the 10 commandments ( i forget which one) where the old testament god says - You shall have no other gods before me.

He created a cult. Its a trinity in a way. Stalin, Lenin, Marx.

How many dictators name a city of 1 million people after themself? Stalin ccreated holydays in his own honour. Parades in his honour. He even created miracles. Lysenkos biology. Stories of loyal Stalinist workers laying 30 000 bricks in 1 day, in the name of Uncle Jo etc.

And this is even more so with North Korea. The president of North Korea is a man that has been dead for 17 years. The dictators title is "dear leader". According to North Korean history books, the birds of the world all sang the Korean anthem (heres the miracle) on the day Kim Jong il was born. In one of the most disturbing events in human history, many people died in a fire a few years back, when a train carrying the pictures of "dear leader" caught fire. These people threw themselves into the fire and to their deaths to save the pictures.

Its the miracles which in imo seperate these guys from atheism. Miracles are the suspension of the natural order. To atheists miracles are impossible. Someone who claims the laws of physics can be suspended temporarily in their favour (eg birds sining in Korean) isnt much of an atheist in my opinion.
 
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Anonymous

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rhubroma said:
And you would be wrong, Hugh, because the greatest misconseption is that the pagan Romans persecuted the Christians on religious grounds. In reality it was all political. The pagans were extreamly religiously tolerant, indeed the ancient Romans welcomed other religious cults within their empire, were extreamly religiously tolerant, which isn't something that I can say for the monotheistic cults of today that profess an unquestionable Truth. The Christians, and Tacitus tells us directly, were condemned because they disrupted the harmony of the State, not because they believed in the Christ. In any case there is a quote from Flaubert that sums it up perfectly, but I'll have to get back to you on that.

You should read Margerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian.
Hey, thanks for proving my point! People will develop whatever excuses they need to justify the slaughter of others. Religion is just the most convenient one, but there are many others...which means that maybe the justifications aren't the real problem. Yea, run with that.:rolleyes:
 
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Anonymous

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rhubroma said:
l
And you can dismiss the billions who have been condemned in the name of God.
I have never dismissed that. I just see the real impetus, where your prejudice blinds you to reality.
 

Barrus

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So, Hitch, are you of the opinion that it is religion that is the source of a lot of the atrocities in the world?

If so, how do you explain the militaristic regimes in South America, the Khmer Rouge, the Dutch in Indonesia, Franco, the Greek junta in, I believe, the 60s, the rape of Nan-King. A few things which quite clearly were not inspired by religion
 
Barrus said:
So, Hitch, are you of the opinion that it is religion that is the source of a lot of the atrocities in the world?
I never said that.

How do you explain the militaristic regimes in South America, the Khmer Rouge, the Dutch in Indonesia, Franco, the Greek junta in, I believe, the 60s, the rape of Nan-King. A few things which quite clearly were not inspired by religion
Human nature
 

Barrus

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The Hitch said:
I never said that.
Oh, you're right, that was Rhubroma. My bad.

And the edit you wrote, that was exactly what I was getting at, that it has more to do with human nature than religion
 
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The Hitch said:
I wont deny that atheists have been behind horrible atrocities.
No, people committed those acts.

The Hitch said:
But I dont know if it is accurate to call Stalin an atheist. He made himself into a god.

He opposed the major monotheisms but this doesnt automatically make him an atheist. In fact it reminds me of the 10 commandments ( i forget which one) where the old testament god says - You shall have no other gods before me.

He created a cult. Its a trinity in a way. Stalin, Lenin, Marx.

How many dictators name a city of 1 million people after themself? Stalin ccreated holydays in his own honour. Parades in his honour. He even created miracles. Lysenkos biology. Stories of loyal Stalinist workers laying 30 000 bricks in 1 day, in the name of Uncle Jo etc.

And this is even more so with North Korea. The president of North Korea is a man that has been dead for 17 years. The dictators title is "dear leader". According to North Korean history books, the birds of the world all sang the Korean anthem (heres the miracle) on the day Kim Jong il was born. In one of the most disturbing events in human history, many people died in a fire a few years back, when a train carrying the pictures of "dear leader" caught fire. These people threw themselves into the fire and to their deaths to save the pictures.

Its the miracles which in imo seperate these guys from atheism. Miracles are the suspension of the natural order. To atheists miracles are impossible. Someone who claims the laws of physics can be suspended temporarily in their favour (eg birds sining in Korean) isnt much of an atheist in my opinion.
None of those things preclude a denial of a God. None. They simply do not take the approach you deem to be rational, but that still in now way shows they believe in God or god. I am not going to go down the road of morality with you because it would take much more time than I have to discuss, and neither of us would be swayed by the other person's opinion. However, there is nothing in atheism that precludes Stalin's actions, nor those of KJI. Then again, people have made up religious reasons for the same types of things, so I again point to human defect as the base culprit. When we want or need that which we do not have, or seek to enact revenge for past wrongs, we will drape ourselves with the most convenient and simplistic excuse to kill. We will do that even if "God is dead."
 
Jul 9, 2009
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Barrus said:
So, Hitch, are you of the opinion that it is religion that is the source of a lot of the atrocities in the world?

If so, how do you explain the militaristic regimes in South America, the Khmer Rouge, the Dutch in Indonesia, Franco, the Greek junta in, I believe, the 60s, the rape of Nan-King. A few things which quite clearly were not inspired by religion
These two statements are not contradictory. Certainly something can be the source of a lot of something while still leaving the possibility that there are some other sources as well.
 
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Barrus said:
The LRA has nothing really to do with religion, it is a rebel group mainly concerned with the holding and gaining of natural resources. Also the LRA themselves say that it is more based upon a tribal idea, which does explain their connection to the Acholi. Sudan as well is not based on religious, but on ethnical grounds, those of Arabic descent against those of African. Perhaps it looks to be religious, but in reality it is a combination of ethnicity and natural resources, once again.
Congo has a lot of the same problems that plagued Rwanda, and many problems with the Hutu and the Tutsi. Actually the Rwandan genocide is the cause of many of the problems in the Congo.

With the priests in Rwanda, it is also necessary to note that many priests did not invite the interhamwe in, but that through the radio many of the interhamwe came out of themselves and would kill all those inside the church, with or without the consent of the priest, in many cases even killing the priests in the progress

Also I need to state that it were not the Belgians who created the divide, the divide was already present, however the Belgians aggravted the situation in Rwanda by giving too much political power to a minority group
BTW, found a couple of interesting internships in international law I am going to look into. I will be at a disadvantage (because, as a stupid American, I only speak English), but I may be able to work something out. There are several in Washington DC dealing with international law that don't require fluency in anything but English, but I would certainly rather go overseas.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
No, people committed those acts.



None of those things preclude a denial of a God. None. They simply do not take the approach you deem to be rational, but that still in now way shows they believe in God or god. I am not going to go down the road of morality with you because it would take much more time than I have to discuss, and neither of us would be swayed by the other person's opinion. However, there is nothing in atheism that precludes Stalin's actions, nor those of KJI. Then again, people have made up religious reasons for the same types of things, so I again point to human defect as the base culprit. When we want or need that which we do not have, or seek to enact revenge for past wrongs, we will drape ourselves with the most convenient and simplistic excuse to kill. We will do that even if "God is dead."
I dont really see your point.

I said i dont see Stalin as an atheist.
I have not made the claim that religion is the cause of all evil. To the contrary, i have said that i agree with you and Barrus that human nature is behind all evil. Its the one thing i agree on with the realist school of ir. That humans are essentially selfish and ambitious and there will ALWAYS be conflict. They are wrong on everything else though (the realists that is).

I will however say that religion has had its fair share of intensifying and starting conflicts.
 

Barrus

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Thoughtforfood said:
BTW, found a couple of interesting internships in international law I am going to look into. I will be at a disadvantage (because, as a stupid American, I only speak English), but I may be able to work something out. There are several in Washington DC dealing with international law that don't require fluency in anything but English, but I would certainly rather go overseas.
The main problem is that if you want to go overseas you need to know at least one other language most of the time, most of the time French. You could always try it with the US consulates, or the US agencies at different International Organisations. I also believe that the ICJ and the ICC do not require a second language, but do prefer it. Also do you know any job openings over there? I would like myself to go overseas for a few years as well, and here is not much currently

@ Hugh, yes you are right. But still those who point the finger mainly at religion forget many of the most important factors and in trying to explain this, I try to point at examples that do not have the religious aspect and would like to know from them, in what way these occurrences differ, and what other circumstances are a factor. If you see the factors in place in these situations, you will quickly recognize that in many other cases these same factors are at play

@ Hitch, I think you recognize that I am a complete realist in the case of international relations, perhaps even a cynic :p
 
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The Hitch said:
I dont really see your point.

I said i dont see Stalin as an atheist.
I have not made the claim that religion is the cause of all evil. To the contrary, i have said that i agree with you and Barrus that human nature is behind all evil. Its the one thing i agree on with the realist school of ir. That humans are essentially selfish and ambitious and there will ALWAYS be conflict. They are wrong on everything else though (the realists that is).

I will however say that religion has had its fair share of intensifying and starting conflicts.
Then we just disagree regarding Stalin, and it is a minor point honestly because I don't think whether or not he was an atheist had anything to do with his actions.

And yes, members of my religion have and continue to perpetrate violence and harm against others in the name of God. But they would be people who did those things if they didn't believe in God because that is the type of people they are.
 
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Barrus said:
Also do you know any job openings over there? I would like myself to go overseas for a few years as well, and here is not much currently
I don't. The market for attorney's is flooded, but I will look on our career website for our school (we have several databases of jobs) this weekend and let you know if I see anything. PM me and let me know any specific areas (I already know some, but the more info the better) and I will get back to you.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
Then we just disagree regarding Stalin, and it is a minor point honestly because I don't think whether or not he was an atheist had anything to do with his actions.

And yes, members of my religion have and continue to perpetrate violence and harm against others in the name of God. But they would be people who did those things if they didn't believe in God because that is the type of people they are.
That is true but I believe that doing those things in the name of religion helps justify their actions both to themselves and to their less evil followers who would not have otherwise supported them.
 
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Hugh Januss said:
That is true but I believe that doing those things in the name of religion helps justify their actions both to themselves and to their less evil followers who would not have otherwise supported them.
And they would find a similar mechanism in the absence of religion. Blood lines, ethnicity, county/state/country borders, socioeconomic distinction, the list is long. Religion is the most obvious in terms of usage and delineation of the reasons for conflict, but what does it really prove? I personally know more religious pacifists than atheist pacifists. Like I say, if you believe that people will live any more peacefully in the absence of religion than they do with religion, you don't know enough people. I realize that it is easy to blame it all/or predominately on religion when you don't believe in God or a god, but it does not alter the fact that history would have a different set of dead people killed for reasons other than religion.

Sorry, but the idea that it is religions fault that people kill people is a rhetorical statement based in opinion, and in no way is it cognizant of real human interaction.
 
Nov 2, 2009
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Hugh Januss said:
That is true but I believe that doing those things in the name of religion helps justify their actions both to themselves and to their less evil followers who would not have otherwise supported them.
I agree and not just in relation to the people of TFF's religion, whatever that is. Human nature might be the root cause, but religion sure seems to trigger &/or exacerbate a lot of serious conflict.
 
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Spare Tyre said:
I agree and not just in relation to the people of TFF's religion, whatever that is. Human nature might be the root cause, but religion sure seems to trigger &/or exacerbate a lot of serious conflict.
So you honestly believe that people would be less likely to fight and kill in the absence of God? Seriously? Your only relevant examples say otherwise, and disowning Stalin and the like still doesn't alter the fact that people like he and Mao were atheists.
 
Some brilliant discussion on this thread (I am being serious). I agree that people are the source of their own 'evil', so to speak. Polarizing themes will always be both a scapegoat and an exacerbating factor - and IMO, religion is one polarizing area! The irony for me is, religion can be used as a tool to bring people together and do good as much as it can be used as a tool to do terrible things.

Of course, at the end of the day it is the people who actually do the actions.

Edit - just read the above and should add - politics is another polarizing thing (if it can even be called a thing).
 
May 24, 2010
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
Separation of church and state everyone. Let's keep this political please.
With respect Mr Mod, it is infinitley difficult to seperate politcs and religion in this context. 1930s and 40s Europe being a prime example where religious "cleansing" was purely politically motivated and helped the world into WW2. Similarly the conflict in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia was a politically motivated but ultimately religious conflict.

Purely political conflict can happen, Falklands Conflict as an example but they are the exception to the rule.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Siriuscat said:
With respect Mr Mod, it is infinitley difficult to seperate politcs and religion in this context. 1930s and 40s Europe being a prime example where religious "cleansing" was purely politically motivated and helped the world into WW2. Similarly the conflict in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia was a politically motivated but ultimately religious conflict.

Purely political conflict can happen, Falklands Conflict as an example but they are the exception to the rule.
Understand what you mean about WWII and most other conflicts being tied to religion, I'd just like to steer clear of the personal religion or no religion, god or no god speak. so if you guys wanna start a religion thread to discuss that, be my guest. Think it was tried before and fell off the map in a quick hurry. Carry on.
 
RDV4ROUBAIX said:
Understand what you mean about WWII and most other conflicts being tied to religion, I'd just like to steer clear of the personal religion or no religion, god or no god speak. so if you guys wanna start a religion thread to discuss that, be my guest. Think it was tried before and fell off the map in a quick hurry. Carry on.
just so you know. American politics is currently driven by many religious factions. really hard to separate out. there is that church and state thing in the
US Constitution , but willful ignorance rules apply these days, it seems.
have you read any of George Bush's new memoir?
 
Thoughtforfood said:
Hey, thanks for proving my point! People will develop whatever excuses they need to justify the slaughter of others. Religion is just the most convenient one, but there are many others...which means that maybe the justifications aren't the real problem. Yea, run with that.:rolleyes:
Once again you have missed the point. Let me try to explain it better. During the ancient Roman world the pagans made no separation between the "affairs of gods" and those of men, indeed they were "inextricably conected." Making sacrifices to the gods were thus an act of civil participation to the pagans, which all citizens of the empire were expected to perform. The Christians, who had initially developed out of traditional Judaism, refused such civic participation on their religious grounds. Even this would not have led to their periodic persecutions by the Roman authorities however, that is on purely religious grounds, because, as I have mentioned before, the pagans were very religiously tolerant and alowed a multitude of foreign gods into their traditional State cults. Yet what could not be tolerated was their refusal to make that pledge of allegiance to the State in the form of an anual tribute to the emperor, which Christians refused also to do this. Even the Jews did this. Consequently it wasn't because Christians worshed a deity whom they called the Christ (from Christos in Greek which means Savior), but because they were civil disobedients - many also refused to be conscripted in the army - in an age for which certain civic behavior was compulsory not optional. Tacitus thus described the Christian as the worst breed of civil disobedient, who practices witchcraft. The Roman historian even accused them of atheism.

As I said before, TFF, the world began to know the ugly side of religion only with the Christian persecution of the pagans (and Jews) begining with the Edict of Theodosius of 380. From that moment forward in the late antique world, religon would forever change its nature in mutating from a predominantly polytheistic status to a monotheistic identity. And the great monotheistic religons (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) have all in some shape or form also shared political aspects, which in my mind has led to the disaster. When any religious institution mixes too much of the sacred with the profane, and thus the spiritual with the political, the good teachings of those faiths more often than not become emersed and bogged down in the power conflicts of the ages. And this is what precisely happend within that long list of religious based conflicts I have previously provided.

Consequently when these religions make politics too, as the Christian Church did down through the Middle Ages just as was true with Islam during the period, the outcome is inevitably political. And politics is a most dirty business, TFF. It's why we eventually came up with a separation of Church and State in our democratic constitutions, something which hasn't taken place in several Islamic States. Yet as I see it, especially in the American political scene of late, that important separation of Church and State has become frightfully tenuous if it still exists in a meaningful way at all.

Rationalism, reason, enlightenment and science begining in the XVII century had allowed the State to eventually be emancipated from the religious institutions, where a return to constitutional laws (as was actually the case with the Ancient Roman State), not religious dogmas, were from now on going to be the guiding principles for which the actions of men would be judged for or against in terms of their rightousness. It's true, though, that with an excessive pride in modernism, scientific positivism and a false utilization of socialist ideology on the right and left wings alike we did experience the disaster of the XX century Nazi, Fascist as well as Stalinist communism movements. Though, again, this was a fortunately brief historical experiment and in these cases, at any rate, the zeal of ideology had transformed the State into a "religion." Thus the same mixing of the "sacred" (in the form of ultra nationalism, racial purity, a missionary calling to uphold some political dogma or ideal) with the political, led these regimes to perpetrate the same types of crimes against humanity, which formally had been commited by the State under complete sway of the religious institutions as my list has demonstrated. Religious institutions since late antiquity, which, through the belief in holding exclusive ownership of God's will and the Truth, had provided justification for the worst type of crimes and injustices that happened throughout this long historical period as cited on my list.

Consequetly for me religion is not to be so easily let of the hook for its crimes. Such would be an all too convenient method of cleaning the dirty laundry of history. And many of its good teachings we can in any case find in the great philosophers' works of the pagan and enlightenment civilizations. In the end, the religion of today, the one that likes to play politics too: has become a weapon of mass destruction for the ignorant, the fascist, the desperate and the frustrated (or all of the above). And it is like this in the Christian, Islamic and Jewish States alike.

And yes, this is why, it is quite an arduous task indeed to separate a political discussion from a religious one. Precisely because the religious leadiship has always demanded to have a political voice. And in our world it has been that way since the days of Theodosius. The Evangelical movements in America, especially in the Republican party, tells us that this is still true today.
 
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