I most certainly see the idea of faith, faith itself, and religion as a threat to mankind. It always has and always hill hinder social progress, scientific progress, and the development of any type of peace that may be brewing anywhere on this great and hateful earth.

Call me "militant" or not tolerant but I don't believe religion and faith have a place in a world where there is actual peace and progress.

I do not respect religion or religious beliefs...you wouldn't respect a belief that said it was OK to kill people for not believing something, would you?

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if you actualy read my post instead of ranting then you'll see that what i said was that the bible has some good ideas and what i believe is that is you could do a lot worse than trying to live your life according to the guidance, and I am not talking about the old testament here or some of the more fruitcake ideas but as a general guide.
All I was trying to say is like all religious texts it has been distorted and abused and is used by dangerous people, the point is it is the people that distort and abuse it that are dangerous not the original idea it was trying to convey.
I agree that religion is dangerous and divisive but mainly because it is an endless source of ammunition for the lunatic fringe if it is distorted and abused.
I disagree. The holy books are all very open to interpretation, so each side is busy saying that they other has distorted/misinterpreted. We don't know for certain what the original authors intended, but we can make educated guesses. My guess from reading the OT is that the authors were exceptionalist semi-literate mass murderers.

The basic problem is that the bible is so contradictory. Am I supposed to take an eye for an eye, or turn the other cheek? Both interpretations would have scriptural support. So how is one more valid than the other?
I think it depends on two things, the nature of the belief, and how large of an organization it is.

I think that whenever there is a large group of people subject to the demands of a hierarchy there is a constant potential for disaster. Those who seek power, are often those who wish to abuse power. Now if the nature of the belief includes blind obedience, the conversion of outsiders, advocates violence for those that do not obey, and has a complete lack of tolerance for separate sets of belief, disaster is pretty much guaranteed.

On the other hand if the belief is solitary in practice, abhors violence, and encourages a live and let live mentality, I don't see how it could be harmful to anyone aside from the practitioner.
I see where you are going with this...sort of like a personal religion, if you will.

Thank you for your input.
I was comparing mainstream groups like Christianity to smaller groups like the whole Wiccan/Goddess worship/Neo-pagan classification.
I disagree on the size of the organization aspect. Small cults are usually the creepiest. Sure they may not "take out" as many heretics and infidels, but they screw people up completely and have more mass suicides. Heavens Gate, People's Temple, Branch Davidians, The Family Intl. etc. These were some small groups with BIG ammunition.
It's neither religion nor faith that present the threat but the indoctrinated people behind them.

I must agree with Karl here. The Bible does provide a fairly good moral code from which to live by IF and only IF you're selective about which texts you're reading from. Obviously no one here believes that, as a whole, the Bible is a great source.
I've heard that argument that the Bible borrowed, guess I should say stole, idea from the writing of Buddha.
It is great to see that so much great input has developed in this discussion!

I want to briefly restate why I see faith and religion as a threat to mankind.

Despite some O.K. moral teachings and good fairy tales, faith and religion teaches man to NOT think for himself. It attempts to provide truth by skipping out on one of the greatest invention developed by man: the scientific method.

Through science man will understand the world and why it is the way it is. Through patience and understanding, both human traits, we can understand one another.
If I had to answer this question a few months ago I would have said "possibly but it depends", however I am now firmly in the "yes it is a threat" camp.

What really finally changed my mind was watching a BBC Documentary on Tibet made up of archival footage from the days before it was taken over by China.

I found it extremely informative, however when watching the archival footage that they presented, all I saw was a society trapped in feudalism by their religious structure. That then when change was forced upon them (by the world essentially and china primarily) was unable to adapt or even defend itself. Frankly I was personally disturbed by this thought pattern because in all honesty I didn't place Buddhism in the same place with other world religions and religious philosophies, but now I do.

All I see it, religion these days is a societal trap, that would essentially if it could, lock a culture into place. Advancement of thinking and ideas are counter productive to religious indoctrination, and I am sure that most of the leaders would want to suppress this as much as they can.
This affirms by belief that religion is used (and possibly created) as a means to control people. To this day, it has proven to be the most powerful means of controlling any people.
I agree. You want to see something really scary? take a look at The Tony Blair Faith Foundation [ http://www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/ ]

The former Prime Minister of Great Britain and friend of George W. Bush is now seeking to united all religions under his banner. He's taking his case to Ivy League Schools like Yale where he can get the best Machiavellian advice.

If you haven't read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, you should, it reads like a users manual for manipulating the masses and running a dictatorship. It pretty much lays out what religion is used for.


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