Religion dangerous?

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Cascador, May 31, 2010.

  1. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Whoa... big discussion all of the sudden :eek:

    I don't particularly think that this action had much to do with religion. The anger of the girl in question was channeled towards that church; it might have channeled to something else. If she was convinced it was the neighbours who did it, then that house might be a smouldering ruin.

    There's a lot to reason against and about - but I don't think cases like these constitute to anything at all. It's like an addiction; a lot of people are addicted to something. Tobacco. Food. Alchohol. Heroin. Sex. Whatever. The point is that they have a tendancy towards addiction. And, indeed, one addiction can replace another. If strongly feel that if this girl hadn't had religion to blame, then she would have found something else to burn.

    Ow, nice analysis earlier, RW :)
     
  2. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    I don't think so. I think she just had too much faith in God and because her sister was killed, she lost her faith. She got highly disappointed as he was expecting more from such a powerful being. When your grandfather dies, it is more understandable for a child that he died of a natural death. A child would understand that better as there is an explanation. But because there are still so many question around God, she was confused and blamed it on him, as she could not find another explanation, why he did not interfere. There is no explanation. Was she an atheist for example, she wouldn't have needed an explanation as there was no supernatural being to intervene in the first place. It was an accident and that is all there is to it.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Any point/period of emotional or physical stress generally sends our minds (or mostly any animals for that matter) into a confused state - we are apt to act unlike our normal selves and even basic logic can quickly be thrown out of the window. It dosn't really matter if we are 12, 20 or 80 years old the stress/situation can and will still have its effect.

    Of course within that framework there are those who are more reserved/controld and those who are not. Further life itself brings with it more varied and overlapping situations - thus it can often be seen that older people are more in control, but its not through age nor maturity (nessessarily) but through past experiences. Remember there are cultures and peoples for whome losing a sister/child is not as uncommon as it generally is in the "developed western world" and in such an environment a child might show far more maturity/experience than those from the western upbringing even if they were similar in every other way.

    On the matter of religion its like all things - as running pointed out - everything affects us in some way or another. No child can grow up a completly blank/clean slate and infact I would say that its just as (potentially) damanging to limit a childs experiences as it is to full immerse them within only one select area. It's also important that we remember that the subject religion is not a singluar book - even within a single faith there are often many many different variations of practised belief.
    It's hard to lable it all bad or all good because each persons experiences are essentially totally unique in this regard - for some religion can be a world of horrors and lies - for others a source of joy and relaxation.

    As for this example - the child is under a new form of intense stress and is most likley feeling very vulnerable. In this moment she reached for that protective "father figure" that God was and he failed her - next emtion was anger and she acted upon it. The fact that she is 12 - to me - isn't really here nor there I have read of people older doing likewise when they are otherwise totally sane and "normal" people. We also have to remember that it might not even be anger alone that is the cause of her actions but infact a cry for attention - extreme yes, but not so dissimilar from those who cut themselves or do other acts seeking to draw attention to themselves. Again its an oddity of how the mind works sometimes - that we want attention or (more often) affection/ressaurance - but that we seek it in very extreme or odd ways

    Maybe this shows that in this girls upbringing there was a fault with the way that religion was presented and showed to her - or perhaps her teachers/parents in this regard failed in fully conveying the messages they intended to the child. We can all interpret data differently, especaily when its not so much cold hard fact (like maths) but more interpreted messages from stories (where even within a close group there will be sublte different interpretations of the same text).

    In the end we can't pass judgetment on the child nor on her teachers nor parents as we lack a full understanding of the situation.
     
  4. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    But in the end isn't that the danger? You're presenting an idea of a supreme being, not based on facts, but on faith. This child will have difficulty to grasp the idea of a supreme being just as anyone else in religion does. We cannot grasp the full idea of God as we do not understand it yet. So presenting that idea to a child, is like giving it a book of teachings with barely any details and telling her that she had to fulfil the rest herself. But presenting that to a 12-year old child, depending on her upbringing, is what is dangerous. What is she going to add to that idea herself? You cannot imagine that and that is the danger.

    It could push the child to good, but also to evil. Well it's not that black and white, but you get the idea. And all these ideas of a supreme being get pushed around due to the emotions the child goes through. You get ideas mixed up and you just can't understand it any more. And that is the system's fault as you've presented her an incomplete idea, which you can't fully explain. So how is she going to understand that? What is she suppose to make of it... It can go either way...
     
  5. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    I can tell you these things:

    1.The girl was 12.What she did I think was dumb and childish.And...I don't know.Like you said,she was just 12.
    2.I've seen on the news vandalisms of anarcho-leftists(meaning atheists)against churches and religious icons here in Greece.Why would an atheist do that if he believes there's no God?To "punish" God?No.If he really thinks there is no God,he does that because he believes that "religion is the opium of the people" or because he doesn't like what some of the clergy are doing.Which are both wrong because either way,he is showing disrespect to other people's beliefs and places of worship(not to mention disrespect and blasphemy against God,but since these people claim they do not believe in God they don't take this into consideration,but want to vandalize churches and religious icons anyway).
    3.It depends on the religion,if religion is dangerous and sometimes on the preacher.

    For example....as far as I remember I haven't heard about Buddhists trying to wage a holy war.Or Sintoists.Maybe I'm wrong,but I don't know about that.As for Christianity I know what a lot of you will say,but I remind you it's always a matter of the religion(in this case the various Christian Churches,like Orthodox,Catholic,Protestant,Anglican,Evangelists,Pentacostals etc.)and the preachers/clerics.
    For example Islam on its own has some points of aggressiveness.If you combine that with a bad preacher/cleric,then you might have an angry crowd of muslims ready to cut heads.

    Then there are sects,cults,various pagan religions.Each of them talks about something difference.Others can make people eat their enemies' hearts to get their strenght!Others could encourage sex with lots of women at the same time.Others could encourage suicide or killing other people.

    It all depends on the religion and the preachers I think.And then how much the follower of that religion is a good follower or not.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Children - if presented with facts in an understandable manner - are often a bit more logical than many adults - mostly because many children will process the facts and give the answer rather than having the adult mindset to add their own spin to the story (of course many are more "savy" than others and learn to add this spin at a younger age).
    Also children are - in a way - already understanding of a supreme being. Infact their lives are full of supreme beings of one form or another. When very young its their parents who control and are masters - then as they get older they might learn that there are masters over them (such as their boss, contemparies the all powerfull government and the mighty santa). So the idea of a supreme entity is not out of the question for them to understand - the failing as I see it is in the delivery of the message and the overuse of simalies to try and dumb down the data.

    Presenting god as a loving father figure works, but also gives children the wrong data - as said before they tend to be more logical/literal than adults. Again we are back not to so much the message or the content but the delivery process. And again I repeat that we can't judge a case without more data and insight than we have already.

    Consider that science to many is like a religion - we have to belive that the bridge as built/designed by science will not fall when we drive across - of course the difference is once can grow to fully understand this bridge (or at least as fully understand it as our limited science allows us to). And that most (until one actually gets into the subject) basic approaches give the same/similar answers and data. When it comes to god though I do agree there is great confusion (certainly within the bible and christianity) concerning god since each of the different writers gives different views and explinations. Further preachers, parents and contemparies also give differing views.
     
  7. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Yeah children are faced with more supreme beings. However not one of those is as supreme as God, not even close.
    And most supreme beings such as santa are a lie. It's a fantasy (just as God is a fantasy to me, but that's not the point). So you can lie to fill up the gaps, cause you're lying anyway.... But if you're presenting the idea of God you can't lie to fill up the gaps. And with other fantasy creatures it's not that difficult to fill up the gaps as none of these creatures is as sophisticated as the idea of a God.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    and there in lies the trap - because Santa Claus (or St. Nick for some) is infact real. Though a weaker image than in the past Santa is still a reality. God is somewhat more complex because way too many people have bent their own will/intent/aims into the overall created image and thus - at least the christian god - is fractured too much to be singularly real.
     
  9. Running Wolf

    Running Wolf Join the Madness

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    Thanks for explaining what I tried to say the whole time in a more elaborated manner. You're down with the words, man :D
    And it somehow seems that you all see something in my post that I don't see... thanks though =)

    1: Death in our society is not natural at all. We cut it from our lives, death is an unwelcome guest in todays modern world. We don't act as if it'S natural. And that's the real problem. We don't grow up talking about death. We like to keep it quiet, as in "if we don't speak about it, it won't happen" (which is wrong by the way) So for a child in this world, a "natural" death is as unnatural and sudden as a car accident. (for more reference visit OR's post)

    2: Was she an atheist she would've asked for the why's and the how's etc anyways. And if there hadn't been a logical answer to that (and there never is) she would've kept on searching, or turned frustrated anyways and - as she did- might have lit something on fire. Don't you know these kids that keep on asking "why"? The part "That's all there is to it" doesn't work. They want answers.

    Agree agree


    Freedom of thought is a dangerous thing, dear Anakin, I totally agree.

    She's supposed to go with it. Figure out the rest for herself. It's like this:
    The physical world in itself is not fully understandable for me either. When I was 4 I knew if you let go of things, they fall to the ground- But I couldn't have told you why. I now can list you a set of various physical laws that explain various things in my world.
    But I still don't know why and how contact lenses work, why exactly the rainbow shimmers in those colors- how my car really works.
    I'm just going with it, learn with time. And I'm thinking about the stuff that seems important for me. And the rest will just stay a black hole of emptyness for me. Sad.
    Religion- and that is what makes it wonderful- is not all set. It's what you make of it.


    that totally made me lol :D

    Who ever said you are lying when you fill up the gaps in religion. To lie is to knowingly tell something wrong about something. You never know...
     
  10. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    So a kid goes and tries to set a church on fire and suddenly religions are bad?

    Hmm...what about those kids that..what was it like...some years ago I think in Britain,they were little kids that grabbed another little kid and killed it.So the question there lies...wtf is wrong with kids,not with Religion.

    There are lots of things that can unite and divide people:

    Nations,religions,Ethnic origin,football teams,politics.If we forget all that though,we only become one mass,one same thing one...you know....eer...what the new order wants.

    I mean I'm not saying we should be divided,but trying to forget what we are for the sake of some peace of Communist Era Russia type...is bad.
     
  11. Running Wolf

    Running Wolf Join the Madness

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    Foi... calm down ;) This is getting out of propartion.

    Nothing is wrong with kids, it's just the view of society that shifts. I know moms that are scared because their 12 year old boys are getting in fights. I mean that's normal. Some boys like to fight.

    It's not okay to kill. But society allows those killing games, sells weapons- how are kids supposed to draw a line? (especially when alk is in the game)
    It's like the Americans complaining about all those gunned robberies, homicides, killing sprees- but insist on their right to bear arms. Well then the killing sprees can't be that bad, I guess.
    If we wanna change our kids, we need to change us first.

    BUT blaming religion for what child did (as an act of grief and attention seeking and anger and in a state of complete disorientation) doesn't make sense.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Fantastic point to make and certainly very key in this discussion! For children even more so, consider how many parents try (with good intentions) to hide death by replacing hamsters, goldfish and even sometimes larger animals.

    I would go further though and say that (silly as it sounds) we even try to hide the basic effects of old age from ourselves and children - botox, plastic surgery and many other things being the extremes we go to to try and look younger and retain that youthfull image. Even though many of these treatments will, in the end, result in far uglier effects upon our bodies once they really do give out (or the money for the treatment gives out).

    The way I see it humanity tries to hide the "real world" and replace it with a "human world" and (in the west at least) this is not only seen in how we try to hide old age and death, but also how we try to separate the natural and the manmade from each other. (I'll stop there before I go way way off topic)
     
  13. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Depends on the invidual cause I knew at an early age, that people died... It just depends when you learn when you learn that people simply die of an old age.

    Indeed they want answers and if you can supply an answer that actually makes sense they are more willing (though not always) to accept that, however that doesn't mean they completely understand it. That's the difference. But with religious concepts it often comes that it's harder to accept as it makes less sense. Cause it's not based on logic in the first place, but on faith.
    Yeah and still there in lies the danger. Once again it depends on the individual what they make of it. But with all these open holes and so many ideas that they're trying to understand the concept can be turned into something dangerous. So is it really understandable to teach religion at such a young age to children. Wouldn't it be wiser to teach them at an higher age, when they have more understanding of these ideas. When they have a better view on what's right and wrong, so that the gaps don't lead to misunderstanding that could have bad consequences.
    I didn't say that. I said you could lie about other fantasy creatures, cause they're fantasy. But because God is real to you, you can't lie about Him. Cause first of all that would be a sin and could also lead to bad consequences.
     
  14. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    But in what way is Santa not real? I assure you Santa is far more than just fantasy
     
  15. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Yeah it's a real concept, but he's not a real person. He's based on a real person (Saint Nicolas), but that's about it. Santa's look was actually invented by Coca Cola. Like I said he's based on a real person, but a lot of ideas attached to the concept of Santas is all surrounded by a lie to make children happy. He's not the one supplying these gifts, the parents are. He's a role-model. But there is no actual Santa.

    I agree, but if you read my first post, it wasn't my point at all to use this one example to say religion is evil AND I added a question mark to it, cause I'm not saying religion is evil, I'm just debating whether it could be.
     
  16. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    Girl,I'm calm.I'm just wondering why people in here are acting as if I'm invisible.Am I not making sense with my previous 2-3 posts?It feels as if they all put me on ignore here.lol
     
  17. Running Wolf

    Running Wolf Join the Madness

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    Logic is based on the faith that there is logic. This whole world is based on faith. And faith is what kids are most accustomed to. A baby trust the mother to feed it. A kid trusts the mather to care for it. A child has "blind" faith in about 90% of its world. Logic in itself is not that important. It's the logic that the child finds itself, that matters. Often however, their logic greatly conflicts with our logic. And so faith is logic for a child (and for me).
    Why should a baby fear to starve, if it could just follow its given faith into the mother?
    Why should a child fear and question everything it doesn't understand and grow desperate in this complex and scary world, if it could just be sure, that it's all okay? (with what I'm not saying that kids shouldn't question everything they run across)
    Honestly I find a world without a God much more disturbing, scary and frustrating than a world with God.

    Religion is not about teaching. It's about searching. :)
    I was never taught religion. People lived "religion" around me, that's how I "learned" it.
    You don't teach a kid to speak. You speak around it and everntually, it speaks as well.
    The world is full of open holes, Anakin, and each and everyone is totally dangerous.
    It all depends on the Individual character, as you already said, and that is what's dangerous. Religion, now, did not appear in that sentence.

    @Foi: We're not ignoring you, we're talking over you :p
    @Ana: I never meant to say that you said that reigion was evil. I just repeated a point I think I had made earlier... just for the sake of repeating it ;)
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  18. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    You're right, faith is important to a child's in its upbringing. But you have to establish that faith with making an example. With evidence. It only has to see the evidence, not understand it and subconsciously the child will accept it. The child will know where to put faith in. That's still part of our instinct. However I'm saying again, you can't give or show evidence for God. So the child just has to have faith with what they are given. And because it's weak... It's fragile... So it can break in a matter of speaking.
    Yes maybe I'm confusing Religion with faith. However you know what I'm trying to say. But then again you learned it through your environment, meaning the environment taught you about religion. And a lot can apply to environment. That can include people, the church itself. All different sources of information. But I do agree that there is a lot of gaps in the world. Maybe I just made the wrong title with this thread. I'm just trying to debate how I think religion, or faith can have a bad influence on people, just as others have discussed how not having faith can have a bad influence. It's not about pointing fingers... It's about debating.:)
     
  19. Running Wolf

    Running Wolf Join the Madness

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    And that's the thing atheists don't understand. People who believe in God can feel God and that is their evidence. And either the child can feel Him too, or it's gonna doubt his presence (which is totally okay) And if it has parents who are understanding, they'll then explain it from another point of view, from a more atheist point of view maybe. Which again leaves it to the parents. Which brings us back to the point where it all depends on the people, but not religion in itself.

    Well, I learned our morals through my environment as well. And that is dangerous too, if my life situation changes and I find myself somewhere in Africa, where people might expect me to eat the heart of my dead ancestor to keep his soul alive- and if I wouldn't do it (because I was raised to say that that's nasty) I would show such a huge disrespect, that they'd see their whole tribe in danger of the revenge of a ghost and totally panic. That's dangerous as well.
    Our environment constantly teaches us, to make us fit into our society. And religion is, where I live, a part of society. So it's not more or less dangerous than the morals and points of view I learned.
     
  20. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    :)

    Getting back on track; I hear a lot about religion being a bad influence. Well, it's rather hard to reason against that, since it can be. However, accepting that, one must also conclude that it can be a very good influence indeed. Hard working, God fearing people are usually the least troublesome. Could it be that they cancel each other out? I would certainly reason in favour of that, if not more than that.

    Also, religion is a social factor and social binding agent. I can't dismissed as being such. I would also like to point of that religion is a natural tendancy. Comparing penetration of religion into society, with the level of welfare state available to that society, we find a reciprocal connection. I think it's safe to conclude that comparing the use and need for religions across borders or cultures may be impossible without taking this into account.

    When asked for my opinion, whether religion is dangerous or not, I'd say it's better to assume that it's not. Otherwise, it might turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It does raise the question, however whether it's any more dangerous than any alternative or, indeed, more dangerous than humans already are.