[This was in a response to someone who posted something about "religion is not the problem, people are."]
I would first like to thank you for doing your part to try to correct some of the ignorance of the general population. You pointed out some errors that people make with their reasoning. That was great.
I was wondering if we could agree about a few things.
-There are valid criticisms of some religious texts. These include distasteful instructions, factual errors, and inevitable collateral effect their teachings. This means these religions have flaws. Some times it means blame can be placed on the religion a person represents, not just the person. (Other times, the blame is more fittingly placed on individuals or something that can be changed without changing the religion. You pointed that out)
-Systems (rather than “people”) can be in a state of error, disrepair, malfunction, or have other problems. A command economy need not fail due to faults in individuals, it could be simply too much work for any leaders to handle.
Below, I address some things you said in your post:
A friend of mine once said that he used to be against organized religion because of all the wars it caused, until he realized that religion doesn’t start wars. People start wars in the name of religion. Yes, he still has a problem with religion as a whole, but he understands that religion itself is not the problem. People are.
What I don’t understand is why that’s not immediately obvious. Every time a priest is revealed to be a pedophile, people start talking about how bad religion is for allowing such things to happen. But just think about it — if you really want to take advantage of someone, what’s the best way to do it? Become a person of good repute, and take advantage of their trust. How is that condoned by religion? I fail to see how anyone who tries to take advantage of people in the name of the Greater Good can actually be considered a part of that religion. They’re just imposters.
And I suppose you could argue that, without religion, people wouldn’t have something to infiltrate and use to their advantage, but I disagree. Because religion is not the problem and people are, people would simply find something else to take advantage of.
I know that CEO people can take advantage of people without the CEO being involved in religion. I would not argue that: “without religion, people wouldn’t have something to infiltrate and use to their advantage.”
However, I would argue that with the spread of the idea that “something does not need to be verified with evidence in order to be believed,” there are several problems.
Second is unnecessary tension with sceince and skepticism.
This erosion of skepticism is possible without religion. But we cannot say religion isn’t doing it.
And I know that I can be incoherent and disorganized with my thought processes at times,
I have this problem too D: (I deleted soooo much of this already)
Well here’s a scenario. Somebody hates gays. Said person is in a position to publish a Bible. They interpret certain phrases and add their own, personal opinions to them. Suddenly, their opinions are now the word of God. See how easily everyone was just taken advantage of?
Yes, I see how easily. Snake oil example above.
The mistake is making an unverified thing into the truth. Whether the unverified thing be:
- the translation,
- or the existence of the supernatural,
- or the occurence of the miracles,
it matters not which. This error in thinking is integral to accepting the text as true, no matter what the text actually says. It should come as no surprize that the same error spreads over into accepting translation, when the occurance of miracles is readily believed. For you to expect those people to do better skepticism in the one case than in the other is… not something I understand.
There is more to your post that I could try sorting out. But they are sorta tangential issues, and I’ll leave it for now. Also, I don’t know if you agree with everything I have here. I just hope you see that valid concerns about religion exist, even after your writing and advice are used to eliminate false accusations.