Religion and Power

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Inspiration from this post came from an MSN article that can be found here, claiming that Somalia and Brunei have officially ‘banned’ Christmas because it ‘threatens’ the Muslim faith. The penalties for celebrating this holiday or even wearing a Christmas hat can result in up to 5 years in jail.

You see this is why religion should not be given power. It is easily corrupted and is used to push individuals’ own agendas. It is a powerful tool to control the masses and an excellent justification for all kinds of acts. Take the modern Muslim-ruled countries like Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Brunei, where you can be imprisoned or even killed for breaking Muslim law and the ‘inerrant’ teachings of the Quran.

Christianity isn’t much better. In recent times things are relatively peaceful, but in the past when the Church ruled people were killed and discriminated against for being gay, belonging to a different religion, or even supposedly being a witch. Several wars, including the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades were fought with Christianity as a cause and justification, and who knows all of the minor incidents that took place over that long period of time – the Bible makes it quite clear what to do with those who go against God’s word.

Religion has already shown to have a very strong hold on it’s followers, regardless of whether it is true of not, and people who follow books with orders to kill are very dangerous indeed. This is best shown when those individuals are given power.

Not to mention that religious leaders can bend their Holy books to mean just about anything they want, allowing them to push their own opinions forward, claiming that it is divine will. An example of this is when George Bush claimed that invading Iran and Iraq was a ‘mission from God.’ And it is believed that one of the reasons that the constitution enforces the separation of church and state was to prevent the Church from taking over like it had done to most of Europe, making kings mere figureheads.

Image Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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20 thoughts on “Religion and Power

    • Perhaps not as violent or extreme, but such a clear case of favoritism is completely unfair to non-Christians. Have you seen any of the outspoken preachers around the web? If they get their way Christianity will rule the US and their word will become law. This is an infringement to human rights.
      Look at what happened in history when the Church ruled, people were killed, tortured and abused all over the place, both physically and mentally. Being a non-Christian in a Christian ruled country is the same as being a non-Muslim in a Muslim ruled country, just not as bloody.

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      • Not as violent or extreme is an understatement. The US laws are founded on principles that line up much better with Christianity than with Islam. There is nothing in the New Testament gives non-Christians reason to fear for their safety.

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        • Nothing in the New Testament, but the OT is still part of the Bible, and it is still used, for the Ten Commandments, or to discriminate against gays for example.
          And as I said in this post, it is very easy to bend a Holy Book’s interpretation to push one’s own agenda and opinions.

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          • Would you not say it is equally easy to bend laws to push one’s own agenda as well? We have a few historical examples of what happens when those without religion get into power.

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            • With religion it is easier due to the fact that if these people already strongly believe in a God, it is much easier for them to make the jump and believe what some religious leader tells them too. Not to mention that religion is a very useful justification for all kinds of things.
              “We have a few historical examples of what happens when those without religion get into power.” – Such as?

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              • Such as:
                Stalin
                Mussolini
                Pol Pot
                Hitler
                Mao
                Non-religious regimes have killed many more people than any religious crusade. Have you not heard this before? I’m amazed that you need me to provide a list! Has your skeptical, rational mind never considered what might happen if you get your wish and religion is abolished?

                Keep writing about how religious people blindly follow whatever religious leaders tell them. I’m here to help you with basic history when you run out of conjecture…

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                • First off, Hitler wasn’t an atheist, he was a Catholic. Secondly, none of these people killed ‘for atheism’. Atheism was not the cause OR justification for their crimes, unlike the Crusades or the Inquisition, where religion was both the cause AND the justification.
                  Where did I ever say that I wanted religion abolished? Never. I do not want religion turned into the law, and I do not want religion to impede on anyone’s rights, but I never said I wanted it abolished.
                  A secular government does not approve of discriminating against gays, a secular government does not approve of impeding humans’s rights and preventing abortions, a secular government does not unfairly allow one religion to be taught over another.

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                  • Hitler was not a Catholic. If you don’t believe me, ask a priest.

                    Of course Atheism was the cause of these crimes. Are you denying that because Stalin didn’t actually say, “Kill them in the name of atheism”? The atheist philosophy is the justification for the horrific evil. The belief that there is no authority higher than the state. Pol Pot murdered 2 million people in Cambodia because he believed himself to be above everyone else. That is atheism. Own it.

                    The secular governments I listed absolutely approve of discrimination against anyone with religious conviction (gay or not). Secular governments absolutely impede human rights. You would agree that 2 million dead Cambodians have had their rights violated, right? And secular governments have consistently allowed one ideology (I’m not calling it religion because you’ll freak out) to unfairly taught over another. In fact, they’ve INSISTED that their ideology be taught over EVERY other. Nobody with a grade-school understanding of World History will refute this.

                    You need to learn when it’s time to let go of an argument.

                    I suggest you engage atheist online debate tactics. Delete all my posts in this thread then write a final note claiming intellectual victory over another brain-dead religious idiot. Otherwise I’m tempted to write about this on my own blog.

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                    • Atheism is the disbelief in deities, and does not on it’s own result in atrocities. What people add to it is not atheism’s fault.

                      Those secular governments are ones ruled by dictators with twisted ideologies, unlike the many successful secular governments run today. Granted, they are not perfect, but it is far more unfair and dangerous to allow religion to rule. Ever heard of Joshua feuerstein? The extremely outspoken Christian preacher who has rambled on about all sorts of nonsense, even trying to encourage his followers to commit violence against those who perform abortions. Imagine if someone like that got into a position of power. This man has many, many followers by the way, so it’s not as if he is some nobody. People believe the nonsense he comes up with.
                      Countries ruled by Muslim law are far worse off than secular governments, even today, and there is nothing to indicate a Christian government would be any better. Granted, there are many Christians who are perfectly normal, sensible people, just like there are many Muslims who are perfectly normal, sensible people. But it isn’t them who would get into power, is it?
                      When the Bible is taken as literal truth and the law things get very dangerous, just like when the Quran is taken literally. Even today many atheists are scared to ‘come out’ because they believe that they will lose their jobs, or be disowned by their devout families. If someone very devout and very outspoken got into power they could use the theocracy as justification for all sorts of things.

                      And why would I do that? It is not my tactic to silence those who disagree with me.

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                    • Goodness, you’re right! I can’t argue with anything you said. An unhinged Christian in power would be able justify any atrocity at all! I don’t know about Joshua Feuerstein but I did see a movie that showed a Christian minister releasing an alien in a small town! And he said it was God’s will!!!

                      A powerful Christian could write his own moral ethic and force everyone to follow it. Christians are already trained to just blindly accept whatever they’re told! A powerful Christian leader could tell his followers to eat their children and they’d do it!!

                      My mistake was assuming that a person’s ideology affects his behavior. But Christians don’t have consciences or minds. They’re controlled entirely by the words of their leaders.

                      It’s helpful to know that atheism doesn’t result in atrocities. When I think about it, and bang my head repeatedly with a hammer, it’s obvious that every historical instance of wickedness comes from zealous adherence to the teaching of Jesus!

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                    • I do not hold the position that all Christians are gullible, but I do argue that religion *can* make people more gullible. For instance, there are two people, one in Russia with a cult-like community of sorts, and another in Australia, who both claim to be Jesus reincarnated. And people actually believe them! If you already accept something without much evidence, it is much easier to make a leap and believe something even more absurd. If you believe the Bible is true, it is much easier to accept what a religious leader says as the will of God as well.
                      Of course, not all Christians would fall for this, but there are enough outspoken ‘Jesus freaks’ out there that it will have an impact.

                      You can agree that the Crusades were not very ‘Christian’, can’t you? Well, Christians still followed their religious leaders and waged war over the Holy land. Jesus wouldn’t agree with that, would he?

                      “A powerful Christian leader could tell his followers to eat their children and they’d do it!!” – I must just note this is amusing because that’s exactly what God threatens to make people do in the Bible!

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                    • That’s what I’m saying!

                      There’s a guy in our town who shouts at the sky. Imagine if that guy came into power! I don’t know if he’s a Christian but he could be. Those are the kind of people that Christianity attracts.

                      Certainly believing the Bible is true opens the door to believing anything a religious leader tells you. I think the bible even says that somewhere, “Believe without question what your preacher says”.

                      Of course the Crusades were not very Christian. We can agree on that! But still, I think we should blame Christians for the crusades. If these folks had been atheists (like Stalin or Mao) the crusades would never have happened.

                      I didn’t know God threatens to make people eat their children! I find that disturbing. I’m just going to take that as fact coming from you because you’re an atheist and have no agenda to advance.

                      This has been pretty enlightening. I’m going to start being more skeptical of what Christians say. I see now that religious people are just not trustworthy. Not all of them, of course…just the influential ones.

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        • “There is nothing in the New Testament gives non-Christians reason to fear for their safety.”

          All of Revelation.

          Matthew10: 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

          The parable of the minas in Luke 19 ends rather curiously.

          Of course much of this is contradicted by other verses.

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          • I should have said, there is no New Testament mandate calling for Christians to terrorize non-believers.

            You are correct. There is ample reason for non-Christians to be concerned about their ultimate fate.

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            • Ah, so evidence does change your claim from what you said to what is actually in the bible.

              There is indeed a New Testament mandate for Christians to terrorize non-Christians. But first let me ask, in the parable of the ten talents or ten bags of gold, who is the man who is going on the journey supposed to represent?

              I will mention that since none of the promises of Jesus Christ or the bible have been shown true or have come true, there isn’t much reason for anyone to be concerned about the revenge fantasies of persecuted theists from two thousand years ago. Even Christians don’t agree on what those threats mean.

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              • Ok. I’ll just take your word for it that the New Testament advocates terrorism. I’m a theist so I just blindly believe whatever I’m told.

                I’ve always thought the man in the parable was God but not everyone agrees with me.

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                • It is quite silly to take my word without evidence. You are indeed a theist but this does not mean you have to blindly believe whatever you are told. You do evidently do this for your religion, since I have yet to see your evidence to support your claims about it. But I am guessing you don’t do this in most parts of your life, requiring evidence that modern medicine, reacting to any odd noise in your car and taking it to be fixed, etc.

                  If it is god in the parable, where does he go and why does he have to go? Would you agree it makes more sense that the man is Jesus Christ, in that he had to leave but left his believers behind until his return?

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  1. Can you imagine a United States where one sect of Christianity got into power? Add water and we’d have an instant civil war since these Christiansn can’t agree on what their god wants or how he wants it. The bad old days where anti-Catholic sentiment and anti-Jewish sentiment are well within my memory.

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    • That’s another good point.
      For example, one of the reasons ISIS is still alive is because the Muslim rebels are too busy fighting each other over whose version of Islam is right. The countries ruled by Islamic law are in chaos because nobody can agree on their Holy Book, and if Christianity got into power it would be just as chaotic!

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