That may be so. But the fact remains many religions have been guilty of carnage ad atrocities on a massive scale. For every Third Punic War there is a Crusader Sack of Jerusalem. For every period of Chrisitian persecution in the Roman Empire, there is a period of the Spanish Inquisition, or the French kings cracking down on the Hugenots.
I am shocked that Nareed apparently went to the EvenBob school of history.
One needs only look to modern history, of our 20th century, to see the carnage that atheistic governments and people have put upon the world. In that one bloodiest century in history the non-religious folk have been guilty of such evil that all the so called religious carnage and atrocities put together would not equal it.
When I hear people say the Old Testament or the medieval Church was violent I ask them to compare that to a recent secular history book and reexamine the absurdity of their statement.
If there were no churches and no religions humans would act equally horrible toward each other in equal measure, on both personal and institutional levels. It is not the religion causing the evil, it is the people.
Same holds true for the good in the world. People have a deep well for goodness. Belief and non-belief doesn't change anything other than the justifications held up for the behavior.
I agree with Babs that Mosca always seems to save the day with a very good post. However, I do not think he went far enough on this one. I would say this:
If there were no churches and no religions humans would act more horribly toward each other in ways difficult for us to imagine, on both personal and institutional levels. It is not the religion causing the evil, it is the people.
People do indeed have a deep well for goodness, a glorious potential that would boggle the mind if we realized it. Non-belief doesn't necessarily change this or stop people from doing good for goodness sake, but belief encourages and demands from people to draw from this well of goodness.
I am not blaming you, nor your institution. Your faith is real, and I will not insult it. But it doesn't make sense to me when I apply it from behind my eyes, and it never will. Our arguing is pointless. Neither will ever sway the other. It is a waste of energy. We would be better off joining forces to make a better world.
I need to clarify that miracles are not proof. They lack the staying power so to speak to sustain any real type of faith. This is why Jesus consistently refused to do miracles for show, to entertain Herod, or to come down from the cross.
On a site that requires evidence for claims, Jesus would get a good smackdown for such excuses if he couldn't produce.
You also make the mistake of stereotyping believers into people who secretly don't understand or don't even like religion but stay just because of history or some obscure hope for a rare miracle or mysterious secrets. That people are deceived or wowed by something that because its old sounds respectable or wise, but is really baloney. It sounds like you think nobody gets anything out of their relationship with God and their faith in religion. What you ignore is that people are not fools; they believe in God because their lives have been changed. Their marriage has been saved, their addictions overcome, their grief tempered, they have become kinder, more loving, men and women of service, and have found life worth living because of their relationship with Jesus Christ and being part of a faith community.
Yes. People get something out of religion. No doubt.
One needs only look to modern history, of our 20th century, to see the carnage that atheistic governments and people have put upon the world.
If you're talking about Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Red China, you had better try again. if it wasn't faith and an altruistic philosophy that sustained those regimes, then I'd like to know what it was.
Besides, you cannot wash blood away by using someone else's spilled blood.
"If there is a root of evil that became a terrifying force that almost brought the world to destruction in the first half of the twentieth century, it is the anti-religious ideologies of Germany and Russia, North Vietnam and North Korea. It takes almost willful blindness to invert this historical fact, and to suppose that the religions that were persecuted and crushed by these brutal forces are the real sources of evil in the world."
Thought I would share this quote from Keith Ward:
Calling something "anti-religious" does not make it so.
Look at the ideologies in question (disgusting, I know; I've looked) and tell me whether they're not largely based on faith and whether the do not demand they sacrifice of the individual to the state, or the race, or the sate and the race (altruism).
Though I'm not surprised you went for an argument based on authority.
BTW, I've mentioned this before, but now it bears repeating: what of the vehement Christian anti-semitism, promoted or sanctioned by the Church for centuries? What role did that play in the Holocaust?
Fortunately, I was directed to examine my conscience and to consider that maybe I was not alone ine this world.
I realized that I was not smart enough to have all the answers nor was I so so low that I was not worth saving.
I returned to the faith of my childhood, the Catholic Church, and my life began to turn around for the better. Somewhere along the way, i lost the compulsion for some of my self destructive behavior. I attribute this to help that I received from God, as I understand Him, and from other people who were good enough to share their faith experiences with me.
I understand this is not proof of God to many people but I do want to thank Father Gamble for all his contibutions here.
My post is to let Father Gamble know that I appreciate his contributions here.