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View Diary: Struggle and Faith: How Occupy Has Taught Me To Tolerate Religion (231 comments)

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  •  Not at all (8+ / 0-)

    It's simple historical reality that religions are more likely to breed monsters and monstrous acts than saints. (As a former Catholic, it was disappointing to discover how few so-called saints were in any way truly saintly - or even just how little religious history was actually true.)

    That doesn't make the saints or the concerned citizens any less valuable, but it does raise questions about the role that religion plays in politics.

    And since religion is so rarely truly private in practice, and since it overlaps so obviously with politics, it's not at all unreasonable to question whether or not it offers a net social benefit.

    The basic moral fact is that no matter how much religious people would like to pretend otherwise, absolutely any moral position can be justified religiously.

    Whether it's gay-indifference or gay-hate, feminism or anti-feminism, hatred of the poor or support for the poor, killing your neighbour or loving your neighbour, some preacher somewhere will be preaching it from a pulpit, and their followers will believe that it's religiously-inspired morality.

    It's not belief in god that's the problem, it's the political forces it creates.

    Now, if the political forces were reliably progressive, progressive atheists would be more likely to make an accommodation with them.

    But they aren't. The religious left is a tiny minority compared to the religious right.

    So yes, you can believe what you want. But faith is not enough to create effective change when your beliefs are a minority interest, when the majority of the established religions are institutionally reactionary, and when even progressives use the 'I believe this because god tells me to' to justify their politics - and certainly not when progressive politics should be able to offer much more robust and persuasive reasons for doing the moral thing without leaning on supernatural narratives.

    "Be kind" - is that a religion?

    by ThatBritGuy on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:48:28 AM PDT

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    •  This is the key: (0+ / 0-)
      It's not belief in god that's the problem, it's the political forces it creates.
      I've seen it first hand in Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim cultures.  In a slightly different view, it's the political forces manipulating believers that cause the conflicts.

      But I don't see how you can support the following given how many self identified Christians vote Democratic.  I think we all tend to give the religious right too much weight because of all the noise they make:

      The religious left is a tiny minority compared to the religious right.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:28:07 AM PDT

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    •  You sure believe a lot on faith (0+ / 0-)

      I don't see any research.

    •  Atheists are no angels (0+ / 0-)

      Some atheists are mellow, some are not.  

      http://www.aljazeera.com/...

      The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

      by not2plato on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:48:47 AM PDT

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