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The Harm Done By Religion


Doug1066
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1 minute ago, psyche101 said:

Ive read that religion has held science back, perhaps as much as a thousand years. I'm not sure what is accurate, there are quite a few estimates. 

St. Cyr led the mob that destroyed one of the libraries at Alexandria.  Hero's Steam Engine had just been invented and was perhaps a half-dozen inventions from producing a usable product.  Imagine the Roman Empire with railroads.  Imagine us now greeting the first scout ships to return from Proxima Centari.  What would we be without religion to hold us back?  There really is no answer to that question.

Doug

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1 minute ago, psyche101 said:

Ive read that religion has held science back, perhaps as much as a thousand years. I'm not sure what is accurate, there are quite a few estimates. 

and ive read that, if not for writings held in churches during periods of conflict, science would have been even slower to evolve. 

My point in all my posts here, is that there IS no correct answer to this question It depends  on your biases and values. 

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1 minute ago, Doug1066 said:

St. Cyr led the mob that destroyed one of the libraries at Alexandria.  Hero's Steam Engine had just been invented and was perhaps a half-dozen inventions from producing a usable product.  Imagine the Roman Empire with railroads.  Imagine us now greeting the first scout ships to return from Proxima Centari.  What would we be without religion to hold us back?  There really is no answer to that question.

Doug

You're right. One can only ponder I suppose, but it's an interesting thought that figured fits well into your thread. 

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1 minute ago, Doug1066 said:

St. Cyr led the mob that destroyed one of the libraries at Alexandria.  Hero's Steam Engine had just been invented and was perhaps a half-dozen inventions from producing a usable product.  Imagine the Roman Empire with railroads.  Imagine us now greeting the first scout ships to return from Proxima Centari.  What would we be without religion to hold us back?  There really is no answer to that question.

Doug

On the other hand without religion Europe might still be a group of feudal states in conflict with each other.

The church unified Europe enough for  it  to beat off the  Mongols The Vikings stopped raiding when the  y were converted .

Region, in part, drove European expansion and colonisation which allowed the industrial revolution to be resourced, and science and technology to become global. 

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2 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

and ive read that, if not for writings held in churches during periods of conflict, science would have been even slower to evolve. 

After the fall of Rome, the church stepped into the power vacuum, precipitating the Dark Ages in the west.  Where the church had no influence, the mid-East became a center of knowledge and learning.  Muslim scholars invented the concept of zero during this time and replaced the cumbersome Roman numerals with a much-easier-to-use Arabic one.

Doug

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8 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

On the other hand without religion Europe might still be a group of feudal states in conflict with each other.

Europe was a collection of feudal states largely because of the church.

 

8 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

The Vikings stopped raiding when the  y were converted .

The Vikings destroyed the Christian kingdoms that preceded England.  Aifred converted the Viking chiefs at the point of a sword.  They quit fighting because he'd have killed them.

Doug

Edited by Doug1066
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35 minutes ago, Doug1066 said:

Thanks for your comments.  Stay tuned.

You're welcome, and thanks for being civil.  These threads typically devolve very quickly and it's the reason I rarely take part in them.  I tend to struggle with civility here, at least with a few.   At the end, a dozen or a hundred pages later, no one's mind will be changed, and so it goes.  As for redeeming a religion through "good acts", that can never be accomplished.  BUT, those who insist that religion has done more damage and killed more innocents than the secular horrors of our "civilization", cannot prove their case. 

WWI saw the deaths of about 40 million people, combatants and civilians, from all causes.  One of which, BTW, was a TRULY HORRIFIC pandemic.  It also has the distinction IIRC, of being the first conflict to kill over one million people.  WWII, claimed between 85-100 million from all causes.  It is an impossible task to prove that either of those wars were primarily or even secondarily religious in nature.  Like MOST wars between human beings, the lust for power and the desire to take land or resources is driven by greed and a deeply seated need to control others, no matter the costs.  There is nothing there that is singularly religious in nature.  More human beings perished in WWI than in all conflicts prior to it.  If I have that wrong, I'd appreciate someone to link me to the facts that disprove it.  

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Religion harmed many Native American groups in California, that’s for sure.  Spanish Catholics enslaved and destroyed the Chumash Indians of the Central Coast of California.

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3 hours ago, Doug1066 said:

After the fall of Rome, the church stepped into the power vacuum, precipitating the Dark Ages in the west.  Where the church had no influence, the mid-East became a center of knowledge and learning.  Muslim scholars invented the concept of zero during this time and replaced the cumbersome Roman numerals with a much-easier-to-use Arabic one.

Doug

Not entirely true 

The dark ages were the result of the fall of rome and its authority  (comparatively)  primitive /"uncivilized "  people, often with little literacy or interest in technogly  ruled instead 

People avoided the old  settlements  and homes due to pagan superstitions 

The church remained one of the few centers  of knowledge,  learning and literature during that period 

Not arguing that at times the church's authority was  not  too great  (it was)  and it was at times  more powerful than most states 

 OR that at times it didn't hold back scientific progress, but that was mostly later,  and affected only a few people (most people couldn't read and write and had no scientific understanding anyway) 

plus, of course, Islam is a religion also, which kind of negates your argument, unless you only meant Christianity 

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3 hours ago, Doug1066 said:

Europe was a collection of feudal states largely because of the church.

 

The Vikings destroyed the Christian kingdoms that preceded England.  Aifred converted the Viking chiefs at the point of a sword.  They quit fighting because he'd have killed them.

Doug

Untrue. The ONE unifying force was the church 

Feudalism evolved as an effective  military /socio economic  response to raids from  mobile enemies such as the Vikings  but it kept  Europe divided  into local military regions 

A powerful  king might control a relatively small state but the church had considerable authority over all, and  an  almost universal common belief unified peole

Latin as a language also unified many diverse  language groups 

And no the Vikings were never really defeated militarily. The y settled in conquered lands and became Christians   It was this integration into the local communities which ended the raids 

Mostly, like the Saxons, the vikings were first bought off and then integrated.

Eventually, times changed.

 quote 

Anyway, the raiding Vikings as we know them have had their best time and the invasion of king Harald was the last major incursion in Europe. The reason? Things had changed:

Stronger European nations: at the start of the Viking Age (793), many countries didn't have a centralised authority, but instead a variety of lords and petty kings ruling their portion of land and usually incapable of quickly muster a large force to battle any invaders. At the end of the Viking Age, most European countries had a decent centralised powerhouse, with a large organised army.

Raiding wasn't profitable anymore: during the past few hundred years of Viking terror, the inhabitants of coastal areas had learned not to store their valuables near the coast. Many monasteries and abbeys, once a source of immense raidable riches, repositioned themselves to the mainland, or build basic defences like walls or easily defendable towers. Coastal cities gained walls and garrisoned harbours and some rulers ordered castles and fortifications to be build at certain coasts and rivers (example: Seine and Loire in France, both still crowded with castles).

Christianisation: Catholicism gained foothold in Scandinavia way before the last Viking raids, but its expansion progressed slowly. By the 12th century however, many (coastal) cities had churches and the clergy started to enjoy more respect in Scandinavian society while more and more people converted to Christianity. As the strong leaders mentioned in in point 1 were usually Christian as well, it was only a matter of time before the pagan Scandinavian rulers also turned to Christ and Christians just simply can't raid, rape, enslave and kill other Christians.

https://www.quora.com/Why-did-the-Viking-raids-end

 

quote 

During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church exerted enormous power over Europe. The Church influenced governments, waged wars and levied taxes. Although some actions, such as the Medieval Inquisition, are controversial today, the Catholic Church also established universities and hospitals, instigated positive social change and paved the way for economic growth that permanently changed European society.

https://classroom.synonym.com/positive-effects-church-middle-ages-6980.html

 

quote

 During the Middle Ages, the Church rose to replace the Roman Empire as the unifying force in Europe. The medieval cathedrals remain among the most iconic architectural feats produced by Western civilization. Many of Europe's universities were also founded by the church at that time. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries.[2] The university is generally regarded[3][4] as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting, born from Cathedral schools.[5] The Reformation brought an end to religious unity in the West, but the Renaissance masterpieces produced by Catholic artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael remain among the most celebrated works of art ever produced. Similarly, Christian sacred music by composers like Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Verdi is among the most admired classical music in the Western canon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_Christianity_in_civilization

 

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10 hours ago, and then said:

You're welcome, and thanks for being civil.  These threads typically devolve very quickly and it's the reason I rarely take part in them.  I tend to struggle with civility here, at least with a few.   At the end, a dozen or a hundred pages later, no one's mind will be changed, and so it goes.  As for redeeming a religion through "good acts", that can never be accomplished.  BUT, those who insist that religion has done more damage and killed more innocents than the secular horrors of our "civilization", cannot prove their case. 

WWI saw the deaths of about 40 million people, combatants and civilians, from all causes.  One of which, BTW, was a TRULY HORRIFIC pandemic.  It also has the distinction IIRC, of being the first conflict to kill over one million people.  WWII, claimed between 85-100 million from all causes.  It is an impossible task to prove that either of those wars were primarily or even secondarily religious in nature.  Like MOST wars between human beings, the lust for power and the desire to take land or resources is driven by greed and a deeply seated need to control others, no matter the costs.  There is nothing there that is singularly religious in nature.  More human beings perished in WWI than in all conflicts prior to it.  If I have that wrong, I'd appreciate someone to link me to the facts that disprove it.  

Like I said, "Stay tuned."

Doug

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9 hours ago, Guyver said:

Religion harmed many Native American groups in California, that’s for sure.  Spanish Catholics enslaved and destroyed the Chumash Indians of the Central Coast of California.

Spanish and French thought on the ownership of land was that you had to claim it for God and King and then wrest it from whomever occupied it.  As Indians weren't Christian, they had no claim to the land.  That was a prescription for strife. 

English law was a little different.  One had to occupy the land in order to own it.  The King was the Landlord-in-Chief and could reassign land at will.  Thus, we have a lot of conflicting colonial land claims.  But the English agreed that Indians couldn't own land because they weren't Christians.  Tell it to the victims of the Moravian Massacre.

Doug

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7 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Not entirely true 

The dark ages were the result of the fall of rome and its authority  (comparatively)  primitive /"uncivilized "  people, often with little literacy or interest in technogly  ruled instead 

People avoided the old  settlements  and homes due to pagan superstitions 

The church remained one of the few centers  of knowledge,  learning and literature during that period 

Not arguing that at times the church's authority was  not  too great  (it was)  and it was at times  more powerful than most states 

 OR that at times it didn't hold back scientific progress, but that was mostly later,  and affected only a few people (most people couldn't read and write and had no scientific understanding anyway) 

plus, of course, Islam is a religion also, which kind of negates your argument, unless you only meant Christianity 

All have had their good times and their bad times.  Even the Quakers had their Walking Purchase in which they cheated Indians out of their land.

And don't worry.  I've got it in for Islam, too.

Doug

Edited by Doug1066
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10 hours ago, and then said:

At the end, a dozen or a hundred pages later, no one's mind will be changed, and so it goes. 

Such is the nature of the Internet.

Doug

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1 hour ago, Doug1066 said:

But the English agreed that Indians couldn't own land because they weren't Christians.  Tell it to the victims of the Moravian Massacre.

The Indian Hindus and Tamils as well among the wrong brand of not Christian enough, namely the Albigensians and Cathars ...

~

 

Edited by third_eye
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14 hours ago, and then said:

Have you known many of them in any deeper, personal way?  FWIW, I agree with your statement about religions.  All man made institutions have the taint of human nature attached.  Hypocrisy is rampant and even the most faithful will stumble, sometimes often.  Just as I wouldn't think of blaming all atheists with the sins of the few, I think those who use the excuse found in calling out hypocritical people who profess faith as an indictment of ALL people who believe, to be baseless and somewhat self-serving.  That is an observation, not an accusation BTW.

No doubt there has been great evil done by human beings in the name of the god they profess to worship.  Christ regularly pilloried them.  I find it instructive these days to note that by FAR, the greatest anger, derision, and violence in the world is aimed at a single religion.  It happens to be the main religion that actually PUTS LOVE INTO ACTION by helping the needy, feeding the starving around the world, reaching out to the forgotten in prisons, and trying to make peace where there is none.  None of that makes Christians perfect because NOTHING will ever make human beings perfect.  We ALL give in to our baser natures and harm others in the process.  

Fortunately, faith can be found and spread outside such religious institutions.

I  did not read that in Doug's post, I read that Religion, not believers, is what he is talking about.  Organized religion has only one purpose, to control large numbers of people with fear, arrogance and self righteousness.  There are always good people who participate in different religions and they somehow keep themselves from being involved in the destructive behaviors that we see some extremists practicing.  

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12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

On the other hand without religion Europe might still be a group of feudal states in conflict with each other.

The church unified Europe enough for  it  to beat off the  Mongols The Vikings stopped raiding when the  y were converted .

Region, in part, drove European expansion and colonisation which allowed the industrial revolution to be resourced, and science and technology to become global. 

That is an exception as the church you mention was the Holy Roman Empire, not a religion as such at that time, and look how the religion that was founded by the Roman empire has spilt over and over and over and has caused much division all over the world.   

It was not a religious movement that united the tribes in the middle east, it was a man named Mohamed who after he died was made a prophet by the religious leaders in order to keep the tribes united.  And that religion has the same foundation as the one the Romans created.  Yet both of them are taught to hate the jews who still practice a version of that religious foundation that the other two conscripted for the use of controlling large number of people.

Edited by Desertrat56
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12 hours ago, Guyver said:

Religion harmed many Native American groups in California, that’s for sure.  Spanish Catholics enslaved and destroyed the Chumash Indians of the Central Coast of California.

Indeed.....and it was duly noted by Chief Pontiac: 

Chief Pontiac Quote .jpg

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14 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

People do that in the name of relgion.

They do the same thing in the name of nationalism  racism sexism etc.

It also depends on your values 

was western colonialism (underwritten by religion) a bad thing or a good one?  

Religions have unified and protected people as much as the y have divided them. 

It was a very bad thing for the natives.  . Such is the history of man kind .   they did feel somewhat justified about it...manifest destiny sort of thinking .    God often sides with the winner !  :P

Edited by lightly
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14 hours ago, Guyver said:

Religion harmed many Native American groups in California, that’s for sure.  Spanish Catholics enslaved and destroyed the Chumash Indians of the Central Coast of California.

Not just in California, in all the southern U.S. And most of South America.

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2 hours ago, Desertrat56 said:

Not just in California, in all the southern U.S. And most of South America.

Yup,  from sea to shining sea in North America..   Most died from imported diseases like smallpox, but also from inumerable organized massacres and scattered killings.   Wherever whites moved in..natives died and were pushed out.  Or were moved to 'reservations'.  Some became slaves and some were even shipped out as slave labor.

    This is Wikipedia..but it gives an idea of what went on.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_of_indigenous_peoples

Edited by lightly
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14 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Untrue. The ONE unifying force was the church 

Feudalism evolved as an effective  military /socio economic  response to raids from  mobile enemies such as the Vikings  but it kept  Europe divided  into local military regions 

A powerful  king might control a relatively small state but the church had considerable authority over all, and  an  almost universal common belief unified peole

Latin as a language also unified many diverse  language groups 

And no the Vikings were never really defeated militarily. The y settled in conquered lands and became Christians   It was this integration into the local communities which ended the raids 

Mostly, like the Saxons, the vikings were first bought off and then integrated.

Eventually, times changed.

 quote 

Anyway, the raiding Vikings as we know them have had their best time and the invasion of king Harald was the last major incursion in Europe. The reason? Things had changed:

Stronger European nations: at the start of the Viking Age (793), many countries didn't have a centralised authority, but instead a variety of lords and petty kings ruling their portion of land and usually incapable of quickly muster a large force to battle any invaders. At the end of the Viking Age, most European countries had a decent centralised powerhouse, with a large organised army.

Raiding wasn't profitable anymore: during the past few hundred years of Viking terror, the inhabitants of coastal areas had learned not to store their valuables near the coast. Many monasteries and abbeys, once a source of immense raidable riches, repositioned themselves to the mainland, or build basic defences like walls or easily defendable towers. Coastal cities gained walls and garrisoned harbours and some rulers ordered castles and fortifications to be build at certain coasts and rivers (example: Seine and Loire in France, both still crowded with castles).

Christianisation: Catholicism gained foothold in Scandinavia way before the last Viking raids, but its expansion progressed slowly. By the 12th century however, many (coastal) cities had churches and the clergy started to enjoy more respect in Scandinavian society while more and more people converted to Christianity. As the strong leaders mentioned in in point 1 were usually Christian as well, it was only a matter of time before the pagan Scandinavian rulers also turned to Christ and Christians just simply can't raid, rape, enslave and kill other Christians.

https://www.quora.com/Why-did-the-Viking-raids-end

 

quote 

During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church exerted enormous power over Europe. The Church influenced governments, waged wars and levied taxes. Although some actions, such as the Medieval Inquisition, are controversial today, the Catholic Church also established universities and hospitals, instigated positive social change and paved the way for economic growth that permanently changed European society.

https://classroom.synonym.com/positive-effects-church-middle-ages-6980.html

 

quote

 During the Middle Ages, the Church rose to replace the Roman Empire as the unifying force in Europe. The medieval cathedrals remain among the most iconic architectural feats produced by Western civilization. Many of Europe's universities were also founded by the church at that time. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries.[2] The university is generally regarded[3][4] as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting, born from Cathedral schools.[5] The Reformation brought an end to religious unity in the West, but the Renaissance masterpieces produced by Catholic artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael remain among the most celebrated works of art ever produced. Similarly, Christian sacred music by composers like Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Verdi is among the most admired classical music in the Western canon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_Christianity_in_civilization

 

The trouble with history is it's way too big.  There's not time or space to go into all the details and nuances that affect any given period.  We'll get into more of this later.  Thank you for presenting the church's view of history which it has been working on perfectly for nearly 2000 years.  Needless to say:  there are others.

Doug

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I pick on Christianity a lot because I was raised Christian.  They're the ones I know most about.  Just to convince Mr. Walker that I am not exclusively anti-Christian, here is a story involving Islam:

Remember 9/11?  It was, of course, a religious act.  The most-devout men on those four aircraft were the ones who murdered their passengers, many others as well, and committed suicide, something both God and Allah supposedly abhor.  They said their attacks were punishment for a society of materialism and sexual pluralism.

A few days later, Billy Graham, speaking at the National Cathedral in front of the families of the victims voiced the opinion that the victims were all safe in Paradise and would not wish to return even if they could.  He delivered this insult while the ruins were still smoking.

In knowing all about the Promised Land, Graham joined the Saudi pilots in condemning America.  The Greek Orthodox patriarch of Athens announced that the attacks were divine judgment.  A group of Christians and Jews vented the same thought in an ad on the op-ed page of the New York Times.  Men from all branches of religion endorsed Osama bin Laden’s actions and statement that the US is “the world leader of atheism.”

If only that were true.  In this, the world capitol of materialism, people disarm themselves into thinking if an unknown group is approaching them with religious intent, that group must be benign.

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23 hours ago, Doug1066 said:

I have written a series of short essays on how religion harms society.  I plan to post one a day and give people a chance to comment.

This is not a god exists/god doesn't exist thread.  We have had a number of those on UM and gone nowhere with them.  This thread is about religion, not god(s).  One does not have to believe in god to have a bad experience with those who do.  Some of these are from my own experience.  Some are from historical accounts.  And some are borrowed from atheist writings.  I present them because they need to be heard.

I will have a lot to say about how the organized churches looked the other way while the Nazis burned Europe.  I will have a lot to say about how the church never does the right thing when it can do the remunerative thing.

To begin this thread I start with an incident from my own experience:

How did the Nazis construct an Aryan identity? | South African History Online (sahistory.org.za)

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