How can this be justified?

Jeff Bone
Mon, 01 Oct 2001 13:59:49 -0500

Great post, Stephen.



"Stephen D. Williams" wrote:

> satessh narahari wrote:
> > just a thought that went thru my mind. Most murders, most killings, most
> > wars in today's world are caused due to religious differences. Perhaps, what
> > is evil is not one religion, but all the religions of the world have
> > part-evil in it?.
> >
> > What do you guys think?.
> I think you've just caught up with my line of reasoning at 13, part of
> why I'm atheist, having found myself to be unable to be religious even
> after investigating multiple varients of Christian religions.  (Where I
> grew up, Catholicism was the most exotic religion around...)
> I realize that people can decide to believe almost anything and bend their
> perception of reality to fit their internal model through
> rationalization.  Humans are amazingly adept at rationalization as it is
> part of how our brain fundamentally functions.  (See experiments on
> split-brain self explanation.)  Most of my scientist and very
> intelligent friends are atheist/agnostic, but at least one isn't.  I
> generally think that religiousosity is prevalent through a combination
> of peer-pressure theism (rapant in the midwest where I grew up),
> infancy+ ingrained ideas, and unexamined beliefs.  For some of those
> that do examine their beliefs, their bias seems to produce a
> rationalization shell that protects their core religious beliefs that
> they believe their whole life is based on.
> Additionally, I firmly believe that it is very dangerous for people to
> be taught to step over the line of rationality because it is so easy to
> become a slippery slope.  If someone is conditioned since infancy to
> believe in supersition and myths by authority figures that everyone
> apparently takes as fact, what tools do they have for discriminant
> thinking when it's important?  (Hitler, Manson, Osama, KKK, Robertson,
> vs. Star Trek,,,, etc.)
> I didn't really register the lyrics of "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder
> until just today: The refrain is: "When you believe in things that you
> don't understand, Then you suffer, Superstition ain't the way, ..."
> The lack of leadership and explanation of a clear view of reality and a
> basic, consistent philosophy of life is a huge reason that so many are
> aimless and confused.  This is especially true of the current generation
> of teens-20's about which I'm seeing more and more depressing press.
> "My country is the world, my religion is to do good." -- Thomas Paine
> (High my hero list).
> I'm mildly to strongly opposed to irrationality (i.e. religion,
> generally), directly proportional to the degree of rational denial,
> intolerance, and likelihood of injury in the proximate case.  I'm
> tolerant of others but totally intolerant of intolerance.  I'm also not
> that fond of the spread of memes that I disagree with (i.e. think are
> wrong), especially to my children, but I generally fight that with
> cleaner and meaner memes.  Those that are religious in tolerant and
> self-medicating ways (in the mental health sense) with some clearly
> defined boundaries on their irrationality are just fine with me.  Force
> creationism into my childrens' public schools instead of evolution, and
> you're going to feel my wrath.
> For my kids, Santa Claus provides a great lesson: something that they
> wanted to believe was true, that everyone treated as true, they
> eventually grew out of and understood was a convenient myth.
> sdw
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Russell Turpin" <>
> > To: <>
> > Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2001 8:21 AM
> > Subject: Fw: How can this be justified?
> >
> >
> >
> >>Tony Berkman writes:
> >>
> >>>Of course, I realize that my own views and rationales
> >>>are colored and shaped by who I am and how I was
> >>>taught history, whether it be college or Hebrew school,
> >>>but all the same I feel an incredibly strong alliance to
> >>>Israel .. It is fundamental to the continuance of the
> >>>Jewish religion.
> >>>
> >>And in exactly the same way, many Muslims feel
> >>"an incredibly strong alliance" to the nations that
> >>implement Islamic government. In both cases, there
> >>is a religious precept that "justifies" the government
> >>involved, and shields it from any kind of secular
> >>criticism. In the case of an Islamic state, it is the
> >>notion that Allah ordains that kind of state, and
> >>only that kind of state. In the case of Israel, it is
> >>the Old Testament story that God gave Israel to
> >>the Jews. It's ironic that fundamentalist Jews and
> >>fundamentalist Moslems use exactly the same
> >>arguments to defend their favored states from any
> >>kind of secular criticism. Only the book differs.
> >>
> >>The greatest current threat to western culture
> >>is precisely the kind of religious fundamentalism
> >>that links government to religion. As long as that
> >>idea lives, and as long as there are states based
> >>on it, there will continue to be crusades, jihads,
> >>intifadas, and Zionist movements. And in the
> >>22nd century, if these are still fought, they will
> >>be fought with tailored virii and nanontechnology.
> >>
> >>Israel, of course, is an ally to the west. For now.
> >>But the idea that you express -- the importance
> >>and sanctity of a state based on a specific religion
> >>-- is precisely the idea that brought down the
> >>World Trade Center. In the long run, this is a
> >>battle between secular, western culture, and
> >>fundamentalist religion. Christianity has been
> >>liberalized from its long dance with modernity.
> >>Few Christians still believe in significant linkage
> >>between state and church. Islam also must
> >>become liberalized. And so must Judaism,
> >>because this isn't the kind of thing where there
> >>can be an exception for one.
> >>
> >>If you value civilization, your goal should not
> >>be to preserve a Jewish state. It should be, in
> >>the next century, the complete absence of
> >>religious states, and for every individual,
> >>throughout the globe to be free to practice their
> >>chosen religion, regardless of the nation in
> >>which they live, and without suffering legal
> >>discrimination from doing so. Those who
> >>oppose secular government and religious
> >>freedom are backing the terrorists. They may
> >>not realize it. They may do it from the best
> >>of intentions. The way the lines are currently
> >>drawn, of which religion and which states
> >>line up against each other, they may be on
> >>the side of the "good guys." But in the long
> >>run, as long as that meme has vitality, we
> >>will suffer this kind of terrorism. That meme
> >>needs to go the way of "human sacrifice,"
> >>"chattel slavery," and other notions that are
> >>now beyond the pale.
> >>
> >>Russell
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Stephen D. Williams
> 43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax
> Dec2000