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GreenmansGod

Poll, Has religion made the world better?

Does religion make the world a better place?   57 members have voted

  1. 1. Has religion made the world better or worse?

    • Better
    • Worse
    • It is irrelevant and does neither.

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

150 posts in this topic

The problem with the idea of these "Islamic" contributions to the world is that it takes the contributions of many people who happened to be Muslims and attributes it to Islam.

The historical reality is that the Arabs, after concocting that religion, were driven to war and expanded rapidly, conquering peoples living in the remnants of the highly advanced Roman Empire. The Arabs imposed laws making conversion to Islam a very smart socioeconomic choice, and so most people, being not especially bound to their faiths, converted, and then went back to studying the same philosophy and science they had been before the conquest. But then, starting in the 14th century, an increasingly anti-science trend emerged in Islam and eventually it became heretical and illegal to study things other than the Quran, and thus Islamic society stagnated and was rapidly surpassed by other societies without such religious constrictions.

So in fact Islam has clearly been a force against advancement. It was only in the period when Islam did not seek to religiously influence study that advancement occurred.

The problem with the idea of these "Islamic" contributions to the world is that it takes the contributions of many people who happened to be Muslims and attributes it to Islam.

The historical reality is that the Arabs, after concocting that religion, were driven to war and expanded rapidly, conquering peoples living in the remnants of the highly advanced Roman Empire. The Arabs imposed laws making conversion to Islam a very smart socioeconomic choice, and so most people, being not especially bound to their faiths, converted, and then went back to studying the same philosophy and science they had been before the conquest. But then, starting in the 14th century, an increasingly anti-science trend emerged in Islam and eventually it became heretical and illegal to study things other than the Quran, and thus Islamic society stagnated and was rapidly surpassed by other societies without such religious constrictions.

So in fact Islam has clearly been a force against advancement. It was only in the period when Islam did not seek to religiously influence study that advancement occurred.

The Catholic church did the samething during the so called dark ages. Bugt europe recovered Islam has not.

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Lol!

:lol:

This thread has turned into a showcase for Religious Ego! :w00t: How Facinating!!!

Red-hen, your video was Propaganda... You do realise this, dont you?

Freetoroam, While Europe was floundering in the dark ages, Islam was in a golden age of Science.. thats a fact btw..

Knight of Shadows, please dont get so offended by the infidels, sad fact these days is that Islam is in the dark ages now..

Edited by Professor T
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Lol!

:lol:

This thread has turned into a showcase for Religious Ego! :w00t: How Facinating!!!

Red-hen, your video was Propaganda... You do realise this, dont you?

It's propaganda in the sense that it disseminates information for a specific purpose (bring back lapsed Catholics), but it's not propaganda in the sense of "Manipulation of information to influence public opinion".

Nothing in the video is disingenuous. Obviously though the bad parts are left out; burning of heretics/witches, sexual abuse, etc.

I'm not making the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has a spotless record, just pointing out credit where it's due.

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It's propaganda in the sense that it disseminates information for a specific purpose (bring back lapsed Catholics), but it's not propaganda in the sense of "Manipulation of information to influence public opinion".

Nothing in the video is disingenuous. Obviously though the bad parts are left out; burning of heretics/witches, sexual abuse, etc.

I'm not making the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has a spotless record, just pointing out credit where it's due.

Oh but it is disingenuous.

The first hospitals in the world were built in Greese as far as I know, but more specifically the first that could be recognised as hospitals because they served that purpose alone were in islamic countries, and pre-dated the catholic church..

But in highlighting this and getting into a debate about hospitals and dis-assembling the propaganda in the video I would be missing the point of the OP which is Has religion made the world better? So I'll stop here.............. Except to say, that Religion takes credit where it is not due...

Edited by Professor T

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Lol!

:lol:

This thread has turned into a showcase for Religious Ego! :w00t: How Facinating!!!

Red-hen, your video was Propaganda... You do realise this, dont you?

Freetoroam, While Europe was floundering in the dark ages, Islam was in a golden age of Science.. thats a fact btw..

Knight of Shadows, please dont get so offended by the infidels, sad fact these days is that Islam is in the dark ages now..

that's sad but true ... oh metallica

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I don't think any of those inventions come from Islam (religion) They came from the Arab people not from their religion. Many of the inventions credited to the "Islam" got their start in India. Like the number system we use today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries

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If a man or woman invented a cure or inspired a generation but happened to be catholic, islamic or other, their religion would take the credit of their deeds to further it's self.. And religion will use that to inspire more follower's for it to control and force conformity..

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Thanks Prof T, that is what I was trying to say.

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Oh but it is disingenuous.

the first that could be recognised as hospitals because they served that purpose alone were in islamic countries, and pre-dated the catholic church..

The myth of a Muslim Scientific Golden Age is just that, a myth.

"The first physicians under Muslim rule were Christians or Jews.[24] One source indicates the first prominent Islamic hospital was founded in Damascus, Syria in around 707 with assistance from Christians."

http://en.wikipedia....ospital#History

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The myth of a Muslim Scientific Golden Age is just that, a myth.

"The first physicians under Muslim rule were Christians or Jews.[24] One source indicates the first prominent Islamic hospital was founded in Damascus, Syria in around 707 with assistance from Christians."

http://en.wikipedia....ospital#History

Yep, answered with............

Oh but it is disingenuous.

The first hospitals in the world were built in Greese as far as I know, but more specifically the first that could be recognised as hospitals because they served that purpose alone were in islamic countries, and pre-dated the catholic church..

But in highlighting this and getting into a debate about hospitals and dis-assembling the propaganda in the video I would be missing the point of the OP which is Has religion made the world better? So I'll stop here.............. Except to say, that Religion takes credit where it is not due...

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I'm not going to count up the good and bad from each religion, that would be tedious. I just gave my simple opinion.

It may all be moot. Religion seems to have been with us from the beginning going back to Göbekli Tepe12,000 years ago, and it will probably be with us til the end.

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Freetoroam, While Europe was floundering in the dark ages, Islam was in a golden age of Science.. thats a fact btw..

It's an interpretation. In your view, were the Indians and Persians, for example, not already engaged in arts and sciences? Islamic conquest made them what, in your opinion, better artists and scientists? Wonder why they fell behind so soon, then. What are your thoughts on the Byzantine Empire? That's not going to be in Europe anymore? Not Chrisitan enough for you?

I agree with your criticism of redhen's video, not because it is propaganda, but because it is lousy propaganda. To credit Bacon's teacher with "inventing the scientific method" is absurd - not "wrong," because as an interpetation it is safe from rightness or wrongness, but it's an absurd interpretation. Few sciences are "Baconian." Meteorology used to be, but even they have come a long way recently.

Good propaganda? Often that's propaganda in spite of itself, or even propaganda that backfires. Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath is about the grinding poverty of the Dust Bowl Depression in the United States. It was made into an iconic film. Soviet authorities allowed few American films to be shown circa 1940 in the USSR, but they showed this one. Their reasoning could be lifted from Knight: See? Maybe we live in avoidable grinding self-inflicted poverty, but there was a time, not long ago, when Westerners lived worse than we did!

And why was that good propaganda? Because Russians and those they had conquered went to the cinema, and saw that poor American farm families, at the very depth of destitution, nevertheless owned their own trucks. Nobody in the audience did. It could not have been clearer that there never was a time when average Americans lived worse than average Soviets, just times when Americans lived better than Americans at other times. It's easy to confuse the two ideas.

Could there be good Christian propaganda, and especially propaganda contrasting how different religious beliefs might affect living conditions on Earth? Sure, and especially Catholic propaganda. Catholics, along with the Eastern Orthodox (whose former empire you have apparently decided wasn't in Europe at the time in question), view the purpose of human life as achieving union with God. Islam, as one translation of it holds, seeks submission to.

Does your mind's ear not hear the difference between the two phrases? Does the difference cash out in practice? Is there a Catholic humanist tradition? Not the euphemism for aggressive atheism, but the view that human beings are worthy, competent, and autonomous spiritual agents? Sure, inherent human depravity remedied by "submisson to Jesus" is a Protesant reading of the scriptures, and Protestants don't exist until centuries after any Islamic "golden age."

There are lots of criticism of Catholicism to be made, and I've made quite a few of them here. But in the long run, what drives societal outcomes is what the society thinks people are. In all places and at all times, Jews contribute to learning, science, commerce and culture, often despite severe persecution from their almost always far more numerous and envious neighbors. Runners up among the Abrahamics are Christians, who despite themselves and with a two-steps-forward-one-step-backwards gait, applied the humanism that is inherent and central in their faith. And then there's Islam.

Jews worship God standing on their feet. Christians worship on their knees. Muslim worship on their hands and knees. As it turns out, that's pretty much all you need to know to assess long-term relative average person-for-person contribution to human earthly well-being.

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I think it is widely thought in many schools of history that it was the conquest of North Africa (especially Egypt and the Levant -- technically not North Africa but in the same sweep) that lead to the real dark ages in Europe. The earlier barbarian invasions had done a lot of harm, but at root they were just migrations that didn't upset settled urban patterns and replaced part of the Empire by a series of kingdoms. Once Europe was cut off from papyrus and other critical Egyptian products, however, settled urban life entered serious collapse.

Ironic then that it is the two largest monotheistic religions (that have a jealous god) that brought about a millennial decline in Western progress.

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It's an interpretation. In your view, were the Indians and Persians, for example, not already engaged in arts and sciences? Islamic conquest made them what, in your opinion, better artists and scientists? Wonder why they fell behind so soon, then. What are your thoughts on the Byzantine Empire? That's not going to be in Europe anymore? Not Chrisitan enough for you?

:lol: Yep it is an Interpretation, and admitably, I wrote that response wrong and should have written "Freetoroam, While Europe was floundering in the dark ages, Islamic nations were in a golden age of Science.. thats a fact btw.." because you have obviously mis-interpreted my post as a vote of support for islam, which I can safely say it wasn't..

This is exactly why I try to avoid religious debate, and have mostly done so up until now..

Why the interrogation? What nerve did my post hit? What perspective are you comming from by asking "Not Christian enough for you"?

Please, don't even bother answering these questions here in this thread, because I'm quite sure I know..

Let's not miss the point of the OP which is Has religion made the world better?...

Edited by Professor T

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Professor T

because you have obviously mis-interpreted my post as a vote of support for islam, which I can safely say it wasn't..

I understood you just fine. I disagreed with you. There was only one "Islamic nation," at the time in question, Arabs. Every other nation who was governed according to Islam was "an Islamic nation" by coercion. Oh, wait a minute, so were the Arabs... well, no matter, because we're talking about places that were civilized at the time of their "conversion." Some of the non-Arab coerced places had advanced and productive civilizations before, during, and, at least for a time, after their conquest.

"Golden age" does not equal "inefficient even at assimilating the people they conquered."

because you have obviously mis-interpreted my post as a vote of support for islam, which I can safely say it wasn't..

It is none of my concern whether or not you support Islam. The question was "Did the Islamic Golden Age happen?" You instructed another poster that it did, and claimed that your view was a fact. No, it isn't a fact. It is, at best, a possible interpretation of events, and a controversial one. I hope that I showed something of why it is controversial.

Why the interrogation? What nerve did my post hit? What perspective are you comming from by asking "Not Christian enough for you"?

Why the fishing expedition? You're posting on a discussion board. You may expect your pontification to be met with others' interrogation. You not only stated your opinion, you corrected a fellow member of the community in the bargain, claiming that she had made an error of fact. She hadn't.

Do you want to answer my questions or not? If not, then any excuse is as good as another.

Let's not miss the point of the OP which is Has religion made the world better?...

"An Islamic Golden Age happened" facially asserts an affirmative answer to the poll question, that 25 or more generations ago, Islam did make the world better for a while. Discussing whether that is true, or even tenable, is on-topic here.

Edited by eight bits

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If a man or woman invented a cure or inspired a generation but happened to be catholic, islamic or other, their religion would take the credit of their deeds to further it's self.. And religion will use that to inspire more follower's for it to control and force conformity..

The same would occur should the man or woman be of a particular nation aka: political persuasion. Conformity is asked of people in all societies, societal laws are passed to ensure conformity to the beliefs of the nation they live in, be these secular or religious beliefs.

I think the point that if there were no religion we would still have battled through the ages because of differences in belief (not religious but any belief) has been lost, soccer/football/sporting fans of all persuasion battle for their colours/teams. People have used not just religion but societal "mores" as reasons to judge and condemn others in every corner of the globe, tribal beliefs have been the cause of entire generations battling to the death with their neighbours, regardless of belief in the same God or faith.

I am not excusing religion for it's past atrocities merely stating that humans who have the will and capacity to cause such harm and judgements on others will latch onto a reason to do what they will - religion can just as often be the victim of subjugation and manipulation by minds filled with lust for blood and power over others.

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I understood you just fine. I disagreed with you. There was only one "Islamic nation," at the time in question, Arabs. Every other nation who was governed according to Islam was "an Islamic nation" by coercion. Oh, wait a minute, so were the Arabs... well, no matter, because we're talking about places that were civilized at the time of their "conversion." Some of the non-Arab coerced places had advanced and productive civilizations before, during, and, at least for a time, after their conquest.

first of all there history disprove this coercion islam you trying to push here

quite to your disadvatange some people here actually " knows " history and such claims you making are clearly false

as many people " choose " to convert to islam during the islamic rule

i know it's hard to swallow something you dislike . .but that's the truth check out history

It is none of my concern whether or not you support Islam. The question was "Did the Islamic Golden Age happen?" You instructed another poster that it did, and claimed that your view was a fact. No, it isn't a fact. It is, at best, a possible interpretation of events, and a controversial one. I hope that I showed something of why it is controversial.

and islamic golden age did happen .. if you disagree with that take it up with historians

it's quite annoying really when person try to disprove something considered as historic event

kinda of makes us question the motivition .. none the less history says otherwise and says that it DID happen " golden age of islam "

it's not interpretation .. what you are saying now IS the interpretation

just so we clear on this point .. it's you who assuming here

assuming that historic event didn't happen requires great amount of evidence

and your word and assuming is not gonna cut it

especially when you are over flooded with evidence saying otherwise

so please let's put " religious differences " aside and put things in their true prospective

Why the fishing expedition? You're posting on a discussion board. You may expect your pontification to be met with others' interrogation. You not only stated your opinion, you corrected a fellow member of the community in the bargain, claiming that she had made an error of fact. She hadn't.

Do you want to answer my questions or not? If not, then any excuse is as good as another.

yes she did made mistake and proven otherwise that islam contirbuted to science and had it's run

and in fact freetoroam admiited she's not denying the islam had golden age or contirbuted to science and such

she's against modern extremists of islam and that's clear in her posting

cool by me .. am too against exteremists

Edited by Knight Of Shadows

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Knight, you mean they chose to convert so they wouldn't be killed. Of, course the catholic church did the samething europe to a degree.

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Knight

first of all there history disprove this coercion islam you trying to push here

Of course, defeated people often choose to adopt the customs of their conquerors. To this day, the Irish speak English, almost all of them as their first language. No complaints are heard, none. What you're short of is people who volunteer to be conquered.

and islamic golden age did happen .. if you disagree with that take it up with historians

I'm a member here, Knight. I'll take it up with whoever here wishes to discuss it.

My position is that IGA is controversial among historians and archeologists, not only regarding what it was, but when it supposedly began and when it supposedly ended. There is agreement about one thing: that if it happened at all, it ended at least 750 years ago.

There is also a secondary issue, a comparison with then-contemporary "Christian Europe." Somehow, your favorite "historians" can't seem to find in "Christian Europe" the Byzantine Empire, which existed before, during and after any claimed "Islamic Golden Age." It finally fell to Turks, who had by then long since displaced Arabs as the top dogs of Islamic imperialism.

so please let's put " religious differences " aside and put things in their true prospective

The question isn't religious in the first instance. It's historical and archeological for us, and political and military for the people back then. Then, and possibly now, all the religious rigamarole was a pretext for the usual sort of treatment of the weaker or unprepared by the ruthless that we see everywhere throughout history.

While I appreciate that you disagree with the other member, regardless, it is an abuse of language to say that a religion contributes to science. What we are discussing is whether scientists ever lived under a particular political system, operating under color of religion. Yes, many did, for a while after their homelands were overrun by the armies of that political system.

Meanwhile, Eastern Mediterranean Christian Europeans were preserving, transmitting and improving upon Greek mathematics and classical learning. Central Western Europe was long preoccupied with a geopolitical nightmare, and impoverished by their exigencies, but still managed, despite their "backwardness," to kick some serious invader butt at Tours.

Edited by eight bits

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I think most of history shows mass conversions often accompany military conquest; the rulers convert or are removed and enforce the religion on the masses. They often resist but in a generation or two the change has been effected.

The ease with which the Christians of North Africa went Muslim has been remarked on as something somewhat special. The Jews there remained Jews but within a generation the Christians had converted. It seems to be a commentary on the fact that the Christians there were convenience Christians to a large extent, having gone Christian for political reasons only a century or so earlier. It seems the extra tax the Muslims imposed on non-Muslims was all that was needed for these Christians.

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How could anyone possibly think religion has made the world better??

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I think whether or not a civilization has a golden age, and most do, has more to do with weather, agricultural, trade, and resources, than it does religion. The Egyptians, Greeks were polytheistic pagans for the most part and they had their golden ages. I think civilizations are more likely to have a golden age despite their religion rather than because of it.

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How could anyone possibly think religion has made the world better??

How about those being feed do toreligous beliefs

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Lol!

:lol:

This thread has turned into a showcase for Religious Ego! :w00t: How Facinating!!!

Red-hen, your video was Propaganda... You do realise this, dont you?

Freetoroam, While Europe was floundering in the dark ages, Islam was in a golden age of Science.. thats a fact btw..

Knight of Shadows, please dont get so offended by the infidels, sad fact these days is that Islam is in the dark ages now..

I never said they did not invent anything, i said out of all the things invented throughout the world, the muslims were not the first and it did not make them a world leader or power. China, Europe and Africa can all claim a few discoveries.

Its that Knight of Shadows was trying to make out that islam were the leaders. So what, they invented a few things, a fountain pen and chess and a few other things, woop woop! The rest of the world would not have stopped without them.

As I also said, what good did it do for them today? if the muslims were all that clever they would not be killing each other on their own streets.

All this bickering about "my religion did this, and my religion did that" just proves why I voted worse! wars have been fought over this sort of bickering over religions throughout the centuries..."my religion is better than yours!!!!"

Why give the credit to islam, what about the man who invented it? or are they below islam?

I agree with this:

so please let's put " religious differences " aside and put things in their true prospective

But this thread is about religion and whether we think it has made the world a better place.

Edited by freetoroam
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How could anyone possibly think religion has made the world better??

Well, there's the music, art, architecture and theatre that were directly and indirectly inspired by religion ("direct"inspiration - Cathedrals/Mosques/Temples/etc as some examples, "indirect" inspiration - eg, Buddhism inspired George Lucas with many ideas for his Star Wars saga, J.R.R. Tolkien took inspiration from Christianity in writing the Lord of the Rings [there are also theatre makers like Peter Brook who use ancient religious stories and put them on stage in the modern world, so that would be both a direct and indirect inspiration]). There's the charity work that religious organisations do (and yes, I understand charity is not restricted solely to religion, but religious groups do make up the majority of charity work in our world today). There's also the comfort that religion has brought people when loved ones passed away, first by providing a hope of a life after, and second by the support network of church, a pastor who will sit and listen to you rant and ramble about how painful this time is for you and your family, church parishioners who are willing to set time aside to help you through. There's the comfort that religions bring to people as they themselves befall hardship (eg, lying dying in a hospital with no one to talk to, you're virtually guaranteed that a religious minister will be willing to talk and bring comfort).

I would argue that in the face of all this, the hurt that has been caused by religion through the course of millennia is minimal by comparison, and that without a shadow of a doubt, the world is a richer and better place today because of what religion has done. I am not denying that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but even were these to be attributed to religion itself (as opposed to religion being used an excuse, while power and greed were the real reasons) that the impact, though large, cannot compare with the good that has come because of it.

Just a few thoughts,

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android
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