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View Diary: Atheist Digest Three - Belief (307 comments)

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  •  That's tremendously facile. (3+ / 0-)

    If we treat each other better than we did 10,000 years ago, a good historical argument can be made that those advances are due in main to 'improvements' in people's understand of God

    Really? Let's see it. Exactly how are you going to demonstrate that advances in "treat[ing] each other better" is due to "improvements" in the understanding of God? That presupposes a host of severely dubious notions. (Such as that human "understanding of God" is any better now than it ever has been.)

    And, like science, religion has facilitated horrible acts by horrible people.

    False equivalency. As has been pointed out in (comments on) this diary series already, science is an amoral tool. It increases human power, and that indeed mindlessly "facilitates" acts of various kinds by various people.

    Religion, in contrast, is loaded with normative claims, "thou shalts" and the like. Religion has not merely "facilitated" but has caused numerous "horrible acts" perpetrated by people both horrible and ordinary. That's a fundamental difference.

    That bad people can twist science, or religion, or literacy, to their ends does not make science, or religion, or literacy inherently bad.

    More false equivalence and dubious preconceptions. Dropping an atom bomb on Hiroshima isn't "twisting" science, it's using it--in a manner that is arguably heinously wrong. But science as such neither counsels in favor of dropping The Bomb or against it. A hammer doesn't care whether you use it to hit a nail or your little brother.

    On the other side, it remains entirely undemonstrated that the many outrageous acts to which religion and its commands have causally contributed are in fact examples of "twist[ing] religion" at all. The fact that a given reprobate's claims to religious support don't match your partisan notion of what "real" religion is fails to show that that reprobate is "twisting" anything; at least as likely is that you are "twisting" an evil system to try to make it look humane.

    Your preconceptions are loaded with religious privilege, which (one hopes) isn't terribly welcome in this diary series.

    With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.  But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    - physicist (and atheist) Steven Weinberg

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