God, good works, and regressive taxation was Re: [FoRK] "Peace and Love"

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Thu Dec 20 07:21:42 PST 2007

On Dec 19, 2007, at 4:15 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:

>> - they'd realize just how bizarre this need from something beyond  
>> nature can seem.
> Hmm, maybe. Then again, maybe if you spent less time feeding your  
> bitterness by dwelling exclusively on the wrongs done in the name  
> of religion (though there are many), you might realize that   
> religion can -- at least sometimes -- inspire people to great works  
> of beauty, humanity, service, and even scientific inquiry...

You know, the thing that sickens me about this line of argument is  
what it says about the arguer.  (And I'm speaking generally here, not  
directly at Dr. Ernie though not excluding him either...)

Either the person advancing this argument (a) is hopelessly naive,  
(b) is delusional, (c) hasn't really thought through this, or (d) is  
being a cynic or hypocrite, knowing full well the flaw in this argument.

So:  let's play this game.

You name a SPECIFIC  good thing that has been done in the name of  
religion, and I will counter to illustrate how that action was either  
(a) self-serving, (b) not "religious" at all, or (c) in some way  
dependent on more "evil" actions or motivations.

For example:  you cite great works of beauty.  Being specific, let's  
take <insert favorite Catholic cathedral here>.  How did the Church  
raise the money to build such an edifice?  Through taxation, largely  
of the poor.  And regressive income taxation at that;  no  
progressive, that YAHWEH chap.  No, he'd squeeze blood from a  
stone...  10% of top-line income, for everybody (but maybe not for  
the really rich.)  Now, I actually don't have a problem with  
"regressive" income taxes, if you're going to have taxes...  but I  
know some people around here do.  And generally speaking, think of  
the productive use all that wealth could have been put to, instead of  
bejeweling and bedazzling generations of boy-rapists...  Sickening,  
isn't it?


> Which wouldn't end this debate, but just might make it  a wee bit  
> more civil and productive.

My whole POINT is to make this debate, whenever it is insisted upon  
by those infected by the memetic pathogen of religion, LESS civil and  
LESS "productive" (where productivity is measured in the  
effectiveness of religious proselytization) than, historically, it  
may have because of a traditional deference on the part of the  
skeptic to the religious.


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