religion is harmless

Violetwisp’s refutation of my Religion poisons everything post.
Worth a read, as is everything she writes. This is an ideal post for those who thoroughly enjoy seeing my atheist perspective put through the wringer. Feel the love! 😉

violetwisp

My dear blogging buddyArkis convinced that religions have nothing of value to offer humans. While I share his frustration about harm brought to our world by some people of a religious persuasion, I think it’s unhelpful to get too carried away and dramatically claim religion poisons everything. There are a number of considerations that actually make me think religion itself is relatively harmless.

the actions of some are not the actions of all

Most people who follow a religion live their life broadly in the same way as those of us who don’t. They eat, they sleep, they work and they try to have good relations with those around them. Just as I don’t see sense in equating anything I do to Stalin (a random atheist), most religious people see no sense in equating their actions with that of an Islamic terrorist or a Westboro Baptist Church…

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22 thoughts on “religion is harmless

    1. Oh, you know me. Everything to help those with their heads stuck down the metaphorical toilet to come up for some fresh air.
      Now you can rush over and leave one of your delightful erudite comments on her blog.
      She does so love to read them!
      If your words were manure rather than simply bullshit, atheists might actually pay you to come and have a chat to their roses.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I notice the same people who vilify all of Islam, all Muslims for the actions of a few, are the first to demand we don’t blame their religion for the actions of a few of them. When I looked up the words “terrorism by religion” I was stunned to see the numbers. While the numbers varied slightly the highest percentage of terrorist attacks by people of Islamic faith was only 10%. In fact Christianity was much higher in everything I read. So I see a huge double standard people use. To the heart of the matter of the post, I do agree with Ark’s position. Taken as a whole religion does poison everything it is involved in, it has to due to its very nature. I also agree that if religion did not exist to do the semi good things they are involved in, people will still care about each other and try to help. How do groups like the salvation Army hurt people. The discriminate against gay people to name one example. Also Catholic adoption agencies fight to be able to deny qualified homes to needy children based on their religious views. They would rather keep a child without a home, without caring loving parents to instead promote their bigotry. Be well. Hugs

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    1. Scottie I would be curious to see the stats you found?

      According the Global Terrorism Index, published by The Institute for Economics and Peace, ISIS alone has been responsible for 52% of all terrorist related deaths in the OECD since 2015. Further in 2015 four groups were responsible for 74% all global deaths from terrorism, ISIS,Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qa’ida. Each of these groups are specifically inspired by Islam. There are many other Islamic terrorists groups in addition to these four.
      http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2016.2.pdf

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Peter I did try to find the original article I quoted from, however I have done so many searches this morning I couldn’t find the exact one. SO I used the same code words, “percent of terrorist attacks by religion” and got many pages of the same results. Here is one page I got that deals specifically with America, which I admit I much more familiar with. http://www.globalresearch.ca/non-muslims-carried-out-more-than-90-of-all-terrorist-attacks-in-america/5333619

        https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2011/195555.htm
        I read all this page and I admit I did not fully comprehend all of it. I did get startled by this information:
        “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.
        Muslim majority countries bore the greatest number of attacks involving 10 or more deaths, with Afghanistan sustaining the highest number (47), followed by Iraq (44), Pakistan (37), Somalia (28), and Nigeria (12).
        Afghans also suffered the largest number of fatalities overall with 3,245 deaths, followed by Iraqis (2,958), Pakistanis (2,038), Somalis (1,013), and Nigerians (590).”

        Peter I know that people’s bias can sway the way they report things, including what we believe to be facts.
        I am including myself in that also. But I do try to be as honest as I can as I know you and the other regulars are. I know there are web pages that look legit that are just propaganda to prop up on view of the to the other.
        So taking that into account, and looking at where the most Muslim violence is happening, I wonder if the 56% figure includes places that are basily wartorn? Like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. How much of that figure from those countries? By the same measure the figures I read that said between 1% and 10%, were they cherry picked from countries with small numbers of Muslims by population? Several in the search I did were very specific they were talking the USA. So that leads me to think that if you take out those places I already mention that are basically groups at war with each other, What would the real figure be of Muslims doing terrorism? What would other groups be in relation to the Muslim percentage?

        I wish people were interested in the truth, not pushing an agenda. It makes it really hard for me, and those like me, who are looking for the truth and are not scholars, to sort out what is real and what is doctored. I am so use to it now in our politics I catch myself wondering when I read a comment or post about the motivations of the author. I never use to do that. I like to take people at face value. I know not everyone is me. Maybe I don’t have enough drive to try to slant stuff or want to, but it is wrong I think. I don’t want information that agrees with me, I want information that is correct so I can base my opinions on. Sorry that got long winded but I wanted to explain that I was not trying to cherry pick some numbers over others, they just seem different on almost every post. SO now I am back to wondering…Outside of the U.S. which seems to have a settled number, what is the rest of the industrial nations facing in terms of percent of groups doing terror? Thanks. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Scottie, I found the research on the 10% number, a few points worth bearing in mind. With the 10% figure:
          – it relates to the attacks within the United States:
          – It is number of attacks not number of casualties;
          If one looks at the number of casualties I suspect the number would be dramatically different. Indeed 9/11 killed more that ten times the number of people than were killed in the US by terrorists between 9/11 and 2012.

          In my opinion it not equivalent to say a bombing by the Basque Terrorists in Spain that kills one person is the same as the Madrid train attacks by Islamic terrorists in 2004 that killed 192 people and wounded 2,000.

          You are correct to say that more Muslims die as a result of terrorism, but it is mainly their fellow Muslims launching the terrorist attacks.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hello Peter. Sorry this is late, I was helping an elderly couple with their printers. That is a good point on the number of people killed verses acts that cause the death. But I would have to be careful again because my country, wrongly also ) started a war with a country that did nothing at that point to us. We as a nation killed a lot of muslims during that war. So comparing the totals of people killed wouldn’t look very good for us. I know it may sound like I am beating a dead ( bad wording I know ) horse, but I still would like to get some ideas of the Muslim terrorist compared to non muslim terrorist percentage. Do you watch Bill Mahers show? He and his guest were arguing about this same subject. The guests were as animated and sure of their facts as he was his. They claimed that there was more terrorist actions by non muslims, and Maher is well known for his stance that Muslims and islam is a deadly threat to the world. Listening to them I would agree with the guests. But I don’t know where they got their facts. Plus I don’t live in an area where there are Muslim attempts to change the way I live as the christians do. So does everyone think? Peter do you still think that Muslims are responsible for 56% of terrorism. Is the practice of Islam a threat to all people? Thanks. Hugs

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            1. Scottie I am absolutely convinced that on a global basis it is Islamic terrorism that is the major terrorism threat at present. This does not mean that there is not terror threats from other quarters. Scottie this is what the Australian government says on its National Security Guidelines:

              Terrorism in Australia
              The violent ideology of Sunni Islamist terrorist groups—such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qa’ida—continues to appeal to a small number of people in Australia. These groups use the power of the internet to provide their propaganda to an existing audience and also aim it at those susceptible to radicalisation. The body of broad propaganda continues to grow. Some releases specifically celebrate terrorist attacks overseas while others feature tailored messaging that references specific countries—Australia has been specifically mentioned in ISIL’s online magazines, most recently in early September 2016. While a single piece of propaganda is unlikely to be the sole catalyst for an onshore attack, these publications add to a large and existing body of material that encourages terrorism. The impact of even a single person willing to use violence is clearly evident in the terrorist attacks that have occurred in Australia since 2014.

              The preeminent terrorist threat in Australia is from Islamist extremist individuals or small groups who use simple attack methodologies that enable them to act independently and with a high degree of agility. The simple nature of these attacks means preparation may not involve activity that is concerning enough to come to the attention of authorities—meaning there is no guarantee of early detection or disruption. Many Islamist lone actor attacks aim to inflict maximum casualties and attackers often desire to be killed during their attack. Some recent overseas attacks have been perpetrated by small groups and featured multiple attackers and targets; while more complex, these attacks still used relatively simple weapons and tactics.

              The lone actor threat is not confined to Islamist extremists. Individuals motivated by other ideological agendas could also consider conducting an act of terrorism; the August 2016 arrest and subsequent terrorism-related charges against a right-wing lone actor in Melbourne reinforces this threat.

              In their focus on terrorism threats to Australia they focus on Islam only. This is written by experts in the field.
              https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Securityandyourcommunity/Pages/National-Terrorism-Threat-Advisory-System.aspx

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hello Peter. I accept this write up. I do want to tell you what just recently happened here in the States.
                From http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-extremists-program-exclusiv-idUSKBN15G5VO
                “The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.”

                So Peter do you think as Bill Maher does that Islam is the most dangerous threat the world? Also why? If not what do you think is the most dangerous thing the world faces. Thanks. Hugs

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                1. Scottie I think the most dangerous threat the world faces is climate change.

                  I see the second threat level being over population.

                  The third major threat I see is the impact of amphetamine use on society. Drugs like Ice are really terrible things, totally destroys the families of those who are hooked and leads to much violent crime.

                  On the social front the pending automation from advances in robotics could lead to an employment crisis and social upheaval that leads from that.

                  Most of the governments in the Western world are operating unsustainably from an economic standpoint. The can cannot forever be kicked down the road.

                  I see Islamic migration as being a long term threat to the freedoms we enjoy in the West. But it is probably some years away yet.

                  That is my potted risk assessment. However the big uncertain threat is China and its growing belligerence and militarisation.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Hello Peter. I hope you do not mind that I replied to your comment with a video instead of typing. Here is the link, let me know if it works for you. Thanks, I am really enjoying the conversation. Hugs

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                3. Scottie I should add that I used to a member of the Global Association of Risk Professionals. I worked for many years in Risk Management so it is my area of expertise.

                  Having said that I have a three observations to add based on experience.
                  1) the risks that usually catch us out are those we had not anticipated and thus had not prepared for;
                  2) when we get emotionally involved in a matter we tend to lose our capacity to make sound judgments (and none of us, me especially) are immune from this risk;
                  3) humans are notoriously bad at predicting the future. There are two bias’ we can’t shift:
                  – the anchor effect (the starting point of our forecast affects the predicted end result);
                  – we trend to assume that existing trends will continue into the future, but often this is not the case.

                  The problem with global warming is that there is a huge lag effect. So even if it stops the effects will continue for years. Last time the world was this warm sea levels were 20 metres higher than they are now. So even if the temperature does stabilise there is a huge sea level rise to come. Now consider that just a half metre sea level rise will cause around 30 million people in Bangladesh to lose their homes.

                  So we could see in the not too distant future most of the population of Bangladesh of 165 million on the ove. BAngladesh is surrounded by India on three sides. India ha s built a dual razor wire fence around along all of their common border. What do you think will happen here if most of Bangladesh goes under water? Indian troops shoot the Bangladeshi’s just for coming near the border:

                  Liked by 2 people

                4. Wow, Peter I did not know this about India. As for sea water level , Florida where I live is at sea level or below it. If the water raises a meter I will be flooded out . Thank you for telling me about what you use to do. I do not know much about Risk Management but I think it involves a lot of data to wade through, coordinate, and analyze. You have to know a bunch of things that may affect the subject you are dealing with. Well I think I am going to close down and go to bed. It is 12 :15 AM here and I am very tired. Hugs.

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                5. Peter, I tend to agree with much of what you wrote in your response to Scottie re: the threats we face — particularly the one about Islamic terrorism. There’s no argument that we need to be cognizant of this danger … and set up precautionary measures … but the others you list are much more urgent.

                  Having said that, what I’ve discovered about “threats” is that unless it’s imminent (as our “leaders” have “convinced” the population about ISIS), we tend to push it below our “conscious” level and, basically, let someone else worry about it. Of course, there is much danger in this, but it seems to be human nature. For example, related to climate change — It is only when actual danger is imminent and personal (as in hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires) that people really begin to consider the topic as being genuine.

                  And of course, there will always be the nay-sayers — the ones that have “evidence” there’s absolutely nothing to worry about and everything will work out in the long run. These individuals are probably are biggest danger!

                  Liked by 1 person

                6. Nan, yes I know what you mean. It is hard to focus on multiple issues at once.

                  Indeed I heard a security expert once say that really most of the airport security is not worth the effort. And overall society would be better served with less security and having the occasional incident. But the expert then observed that for politicians it is an asymmetrical risk as if they relax security and something happens they get blamed, but if nothing happens they get no credit.

                  The essential problem with terrorism is that is is incredibly difficult to stop if the perpetrator is prepared to die.

                  By the way, if one looks at the reasons behind the Syrian civil war, a factor was an extreme drought in the lead up period. This led to a surge of people to the cities, a food shortage and very high prices. Led to a powder keg ready to go off. I understand the drought was considered by ex Pentagon experts to be exacerbated by climate change.

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                7. Scottie I see Donald Trump has revoked Barack Obama’s climate change policies. Probably his most damaging action so far.

                  As I mentioned before sea level rises are inevitable, but current predictions are for only around 1 metre from present levels by 2100, so there is quite a long lag. If all the ice melted then sea levels would rise by 70 metres, but that would take thousands of years.

                  The arctic sea ice may well largely melt, at least in summer, but in the South Pole it is a different matter. The average summer temperature at the South Pole is minus 28 degrees celsius and the average winter temperature there is minus 60 degrees, so a huge amount of temperature rise is required to melt the southern ice cap where the ice is up to 2 kilometres thick. The ice in Antarctica contains 61% of the fresh water on earth, equivalent to a 58 metre sea level rise.

                  As to the North Pole, the average summer temperature is zero degrees celsius. But the ice is only around 4 metres thick, so there is a whole lot less of it. The bigger impact is the feedback loop where less ice in the North means less sunlight reflection so the heat is absorbed and the warming increases.
                  https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

                  Liked by 1 person

    2. Scottie, thanks for the video. I pretty much agreed with everything you said. I appreciate how you think deeply on these issues.

      As an aside I did get sidetracked at times trying to work out what were the items in the background. As this video demonstrates:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, sorry about the many things around me. This is my office and it is packed with everything I might need or want or is special to me. It is a good point for when I am trying to discuss serious matters. Be well Hugs

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