Religion doesn't hurt anything . . .

“When I hear from people that religion doesn’t hurt anything, I say, really? Well besides wars, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, 9-11, ethnic cleansing, the suppression of women, the suppression of homosexuals, fatwas, honor killings, suicide bombings, arranged marriages to minors, human sacrifice, burning witches, and systematic sex with children, I have a few little quibbles. And I forgot blowing up girl schools in Afghanistan.”
—Bill Maher, in an interview with Don Imus on Fox, Nov. 1, 2009

And the usual response is, “but that’s not my religion”, or version or what we’ve done lately, etc. Besides being plain wrong, it is historically wrong. There is a debate with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and a few others where this is really well covered. The debate topic is, “Is Islam a religion of peace?” The pro side bring up the Islamic golden age when they were promoting science and bringing better government to nations all across northern Africa. Christianity has similar defenses, like improving literacy rates or providing care to the needy. What the con side points out is that this is from the times when those religions were the ruling class, they controlled anyone who couldn’t fight back. It also ignores what they didn’t accomplish. Islam continued to require an oath of faith for higher office and Christianity still burnt people at the stake when there was an earthquake while clearer minds were attempting to discover the actual cause.
Even our wonderful USA, founded on Christian values, had to use the secular justice system to work out laws against slavery and for separation of church of state, something religion would likely not have done on its own. Any statement of “well Christians were involved in those fights” is easily countered with, “well you had 1800 years to do it, and after the US Constitution, it took less than 100.”

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats” worn.

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats" worn.
Biology made people blow up abortion clinics? How'd that happen, biologically I mean. Cap't Jack
Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the "hats" worn.
You might as well say that quantum foam made it all happen. It has as much meaning. Religion contains actual philosophies of how to live your life and specific directions for what to do and why. It is specifically taught and people are given rewards and punishments for doing or not doing it. Same goes for following the framework laid down by the founders of the US. Both of those have potential problems and can be misinterpreted, but of the two, which would you choose?

My take on fundamental Christianity is that it focuses mainly on the Endtime when Christ is going to stage a rescue op for his “faithful”, doesn’t that make it a doomsday cult. Not such a great organization to have in influential positions as we deal with things like climate change and geopolitical instability.
Our PM is a born again Christian and I get the impression he’d love nothing more than to see Armageddon happen in his lifetime, he just pretty much pledged his undying support for Israel.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stephen-harper-vows-loyalty-to-israel-in-speech-to-knesset-1.2503393

"Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you," Harper said in closing his speech to Israel's parliament, echoing a prayer that is said on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

I’m really tired of people saying you can’t blame religion for atrocities. You cannot convince me the 9/11 terrorists would have gone to such lengths unless they were inspired by religious beliefs. How about Catholic priests torturing people in the Dark Ages? Would today’s suicide bombers commit those acts without their religions beliefs? I submit they would not.

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the "hats" worn.
Well, as a determinist, I can't completely deny that (though there are additional factors*). But as an atheist, it's so satisfying to say it even if it isn't 100% true. ;) *experience, environment. Lois
Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats" worn.
Biology made people blow up abortion clinics? How'd that happen, biologically I mean. Cap't Jack
"Tribalism" might have been a better choice of words. ~ ~ ~
Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the "hats" worn.
You might as well say that quantum foam made it all happen. It has as much meaning. Religion contains actual philosophies of how to live your life and specific directions for what to do and why. It is specifically taught and people are given rewards and punishments for doing or not doing it. Same goes for following the framework laid down by the founders of the US. Both of those have potential problems and can be misinterpreted, but of the two, which would you choose? Most "serious" religions make people absolutist and self-righteous and blind to all self-skepticism - willing to accept faith above real world experiences and learning. IMHO all bad traits to be avoided. Furthermore, they have consistently been capable of the worst atrocities to go down between humans.

Maher also left out slavery and racism, both of which are supported by the bible.

Most “serious" religions make people absolutist and self-righteous and blind to all self-skepticism - willing to accept faith above real world experiences and learning. IMHO all bad traits to be avoided.
On this point I couldn't agree more, especially the absolutist part. Religious belief forces its adherents to view the World through the filter of faith in a particular anachronistic dogma which most always leads to conflict and not consensus. Rigid, uncompromising self centered belief systems have no place in modern society. Cap't Jack

If religions were actually mainly focused on the spiritual life of the their followers then possibly they would live up to the ideal of being peaceful, but in most cases religions are just one more tool used by a few to exert force over other people. What may start out as an attempt to find spiritual enlightenment often ends up being twisted into organizations that use any means to further their extent and control of society.
The myth is that religions like Christianity and Islam spread by peaceful believers spreading the message of love and understanding from a caring god. The reality is the destruction of the pagans after the Roman empire became a Christian empire, Jihads that swept across half the globe and ongoing wars and conflicts within and between religions that have been some of the most vicious in history, we’re stuck in the middle of one right now that has religious overtones.
The inner message of love and peace is often used as a front and an apology, while there are constant claims of, “well it’s just a few fanatics causing all the problems”, mainstream religious adherents ignore the fact that it’s the concerted drive to always expand the power of some religions that leads to so much misery. True believers can justify almost anything in “Gods” name.

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the "hats" worn.
Religion contains actual philosophies of how to live your life and specific directions for what to do and why. It is specifically taught and people are given rewards and punishments for doing or not doing it. This is partially accurate, but not always applicable. The fact that the majority of religious people are not causing death and destruction is proof that religious "indoctrination" is not the trigger which causes these behaviors. Something else is going on.
Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats" worn.
Biology made people blow up abortion clinics? How'd that happen, biologically I mean. Cap't Jack
The Musculoskeletal, Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Neurological systems all combined to produce the destroyed clinics. :smirk:
Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the "hats" worn.
But as an atheist, it's so satisfying to say it even if it isn't 100% true. ;) LoisYou got it.
Most "serious" religions make people absolutist and self-righteous and blind to all self-skepticism - willing to accept faith above real world experiences and learning. IMHO all bad traits to be avoided.
Eh, it's temping to agree, but there is no evidence religion makes people that way; self righteousness and inability to use analytical thinking are heritable traits in many people.
If religions were actually mainly focused on the spiritual life of the their followers then possibly they would live up to the ideal of being peaceful, but in most cases religions are just one more tool used by a few to exert force over other people. What may start out as an attempt to find spiritual enlightenment often ends up being twisted into organizations that use any means to further their extent and control of society.
Everything is used as a tool to control society.
The Musculoskeletal, Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Neurological systems all combined to produce the destroyed clinics.
Granted, but religion was the catalyst. I posess those same systems but pass abortion clinics by without a second thought. Same with churches. My non-theistic neurological systems don't compell me to throw a bomb in the door or shoot a fundie for Dawkins. Cap't Jack
Most "serious" religions make people absolutist and self-righteous and blind to all self-skepticism - willing to accept faith above real world experiences and learning. IMHO all bad traits to be avoided.
Eh, it's temping to agree, but there is no evidence religion makes people that way; self righteousness and inability to use analytical thinking are heritable traits in many people. Alright, trying not to sound too self-righteous here, but what about the evidence of the creeds and teachings of major theologians of the major religions? They flat out tell you to not use reason. They call philosophers and education false gods. Are people born not thinking, or do their elders tell them that NOT questioning is wise?

Religion is a tool invented by humans to create and organize human societies. Like any other human tool it can be used for many different purposes depending upon who is using it. IMO, if it promotes unnecessary violence or promotes human selfishness it is being put to bad purposes and those particular actions should be fought. If it is being used to promote and advance the welfare of all humans those actions should be supported regardless of the imaginary beings being called upon to create a common bond…
As far as the abortion debate goes, I strongly support a woman’s right to control her own body and a woman’s decision on whether she can support another child, particularly when the decision ism based upon the welfare of her already existing children, which is often the case. But I am also glad that there is a strong debate about this as destroying a potential human life is a serious matter. I find more than a little strange and ethically disturbing that many of the same people who are against a women’s right to determine her own ability to raise a child also are against any public programs to assist a mother in these situations.