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Leland Gaunt
08-09-2010, 12:20 AM
This subject came up in another thread, very wisely (:angel:) closed down for becoming offtopic. I think it is worth at least a little more discussion. Try to keep examples rooted deeply in the past, we don't want this getting closed down. I will start it off by responding to a post made in the other thread:


Wars not caused by religion? Small mattre of WW2, and the Nazi agression against Judaism? The continuing battles in England between Catholic and Protestant? The wars between England and Wales, or Scotland? The Troubles in Ireland? The continuing punch -up between Islam and The Rest? Priests preaching young men in to the trenches of WW1? Holy Wars all over the place? Crusades? The Israelite Wars? I'm not convinced, I'm afraid.
The Nazis did not invade other countries to kill Jews, that was just their little bonus. Well, with Ireland I'd say that being invaded was the main cause of discontent. Though religion may have helped prolong the hard feelings. Crusades, just a nice way to get some money, namely through the spice trade. Priests were there during WWI, yes. Sorry, for any I didn't respond to, I just want to keep this thread open, and therefore not involved in current politics.

I think that there are nearly always, other motives that are the main reason for going to war. Ambition, greed, resource competition etc...
A world without religion is not a world without war, just a world with honest war.

OrphanPip
08-09-2010, 12:46 AM
Well I think religion makes a very useful way to organize large groups of people against others, I don't think it causes war of itself. Persecution of minorities on the other hand isn't difficult to link with religious institutions.

Even Machiavelli noticed centuries ago that the Papal States used religion simply as a political tool, and acted no different from any other states. What causes war is opportunity, desire, necessity, and most of all thinking you can win. If states want to survive they have to act aggressively against current and potential enemies, it's just a fact of geopolitical reality. For some leaders, religion has facilitated some rather large scale slaughter.

The Atheist
08-09-2010, 04:43 AM
The Nazis did not invade other countries to kill Jews, that was just their little bonus.

Correct.

Although there is the little matter of the dirty alliance between the Vatican and Hitler. The RCC was far more worried about Communistic atheism than Fascism. The post-war allegations of RCC assistance to Nazis on the run are somewhat compelling as well.

Still, can't blame them for everything!

:D


Well, with Ireland I'd say that being invaded was the main cause of discontent.]

Very highly complicated situation, but I agree that the cause of the war was political more than religious.


Though religion may have helped prolong the hard feelings. Crusades, just a nice way to get some money, namely through the spice trade.

I don't agree with this, though; the Crusades were started purely through religious fervour in the desire to reclaim of Jerusalem for christianity.



I think that there are nearly always, other motives that are the main reason for going to war. Ambition, greed, resource competition etc...
A world without religion is not a world without war, just a world with honest war.

"Honest war"! I like that.

:D

I think the by far more interesting study is how religions preach peace on one hand, while supporting the war apparatus on the other.

Bertrand Russell was vilified during WWI as a conscientious objecting atheist, while religion completely ignored their god-bloke Jesus' instruction to turn the other cheek, encouraging millions of young men to walk gladly to their deaths.

blazeofglory
08-09-2010, 06:35 AM
I am simply happy that the discussion continues with a new thread. Of course we value differences. While opposing religious values I do not mean and did not have the motive in point of fact to hurt the sentiments of those who are deeply religious and they reserve the right to be religious as long as they are not fundamentalists. I am against the fundamentalist attitude towards religions. I am not an extremist and exactly atheist too, but I love questioning. I never follow a diehard or adamant idea, but I am always open to ideas. I read both books of religion and science find that both in part are imperfect. With that said I do not mean these two, polar opposites must be married. But I always love to be liberal, though at moments I sound rather harsh on others' opinions on this forum deep down I value all those who post here.

I am sheer thrilled at the prospect at delving into the subjects or opinions that enthrall me and the rest of other posters here on the forum

dafydd manton
08-09-2010, 06:45 AM
Oh, I just love the concept of an "honest war"! An honest atomic bomb, an honest rocket, an honest bullet, honest napalm, an honest 1000-bomber raid, an honest grenade, an honest bayonet. Good old honest warships. I'd love to hear a sensible description of that one! "Oh, don't worry about the total destruction of our city - it was honest!!" Really!

Leland Gaunt
08-09-2010, 06:55 AM
Still, can't blame them for everything!
Not for lack of trying.:smilewinkgrin:

I don't agree with this, though; the Crusades were started purely through religious fervour in the desire to reclaim of Jerusalem for christianity.
They may have been started for religous reasons, but I think they continued primarily for economic reasons. Trade dramatically increased after the Crusades began. As is the case in Ireland though, I do believe that the religous aspect of the Crusades has an impact even today, but who wants to talk about that?:nono::(

I think the by far more interesting study is how religions preach peace on one hand, while supporting the war apparatus on the other
But, but, but, it is holy war.:devil:

Bertrand Russell was vilified during WWI as a conscientious objecting atheist, while religion completely ignored their god-bloke Jesus' instruction to turn the other cheek, encouraging millions of young men to walk gladly to their deaths.
Maybe if he had the brains to be a conscientous objecting theist, he would have merely been ostracized.

I expect it has a lot to do with nationalism, you know it beings God's country, so defending that country's interests is tantamount to defending God's interest.

Your right that is an interesting subject, I don't see why it can't be discussed here. A theist point of view might help a bit, though.

Edit: Gotta catch up with some fast posters

Oh, I just love the concept of an "honest war"! An honest atomic bomb, an honest rocket, an honest bullet, honest napalm, an honest 1000-bomber raid, an honest grenade, an honest bayonet. Good old honest warships. I'd love to hear a sensible description of that one! "Oh, don't worry about the total destruction of our city - it was honest!!" Really!
I'm not sure what your getting at here, right now and in the past there have only been dishonest bayonets, is that somehow better? Its about the motive behind the destruction, which I think would be more honest without religion.
I'm not advocating war, by the way.

Lokasenna
08-09-2010, 06:56 AM
And to that, I offer up for examination St Thomas Aquinas' conditions for justified (or 'honest', if you prefer) warfare:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A644672

If nothing else, this suggests the Church has been concerned, for at least 800 years, with the legitimation of war.

Leland Gaunt
08-09-2010, 07:02 AM
And to that, I offer up for examination St Thomas Aquinas' conditions for justified (or 'honest', if you prefer) warfare:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A644672

If nothing else, this suggests the Church has been concerned, for at least 800 years, with the legitimation of war.
The words justified and honest have two entirely different meanings.

Edit: Sorry Blaze, forgot to respond to you.
I too love discussing things, I would also enjoy any insights you may have.

The Atheist
08-09-2010, 03:40 PM
Oh, I just love the concept of an "honest war"! An honest atomic bomb, an honest rocket, an honest bullet, honest napalm, an honest 1000-bomber raid, an honest grenade, an honest bayonet. Good old honest warships. I'd love to hear a sensible description of that one! "Oh, don't worry about the total destruction of our city - it was honest!!" Really!

You and me both, on this one.

Don't you love it how people from precisely opposite starting gates have identical conclusions?


Maybe if he had the brains to be a conscientous objecting theist, he would have merely been ostracized.

Maybe, but my point was more cynical than why Russell ostracised.

I've already mentioned turning the other cheek, and believe me this is an argument I've had with theists more than once!

The concepts of peace, forgiveness and non-retaliation are central tenets to christianity. Martin Luther King jnr was one of the very few theists who actually understood that.

It just amuses me that someone who is clearly a minion of Satan and bound for hell - Russell - had far better (in my opinion) morals than people who apparently receive theirs from a god.


I expect it has a lot to do with nationalism, you know it beings God's country, so defending that country's interests is tantamount to defending God's interest.

I'd say more self-preservation than nationalism in regard to the churches' stance. Religions rarely stand up against being conquered.



And to that, I offer up for examination St Thomas Aquinas' conditions for justified (or 'honest', if you prefer) warfare:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A644672

If nothing else, this suggests the Church has been concerned, for at least 800 years, with the legitimation of war.

Dear old Tommy! Thanks for that - let's have a look at these oft-quoted rules from the dark ages of superstition and irrationality. I love this bloke!

The war must be started and controlled by the authority of state or ruler.

There must be a just cause.

The war must be for good, or against evil. Law and order must always be restored.

This is why Hitler was a catholic - he could 100%, cast-iron guarantee he was fighting a just war.

He was unquestionably head of state when started WWII. Tick.

He had a multitude of just causes! Liebensraum, Wiemar, spreading Communism/Bolshevism, the British, the French.... The Maginot Line was built before the Siegfried. Tick, tick, tick!

And a final tick on point 3. The war for good against evil - Germany had virtually no dominions against the 3/4 of the globe owned and run by the Frech and the Imerial Brits. Add into that the restrictions placed on Germany by its previous conquerors and the several hundred years of hatred and attempted invasion by the French, and there can have been few wars as just.

Hitler was a big fan of law & order, too.

Even looking at the extra couple of needs added in by the RCC, as contained in the article, Hitler must have been comfortable with starting a war.

The war must be a last resort.

No doubt about that one.

The war must be fought proportionally.

(This ambiguous statement is taken to mean: do not use more force than necessary or kill more civilians than necessary.)

Right from the start, Adolf was organised along those lines; he didn't attack civilians to any great degree - other than Jews, but since they did kill Jesus, it's probably ok. The great sweep through the low countries spared many civilians, Paris was not destroyed by bombers and I must note that Germany's immense air forces were used to bomb military targets until Churchill decided to bomb Berlin.

Deutschland uber Alles!

(Anyone who doesn't realise there is a lot of tongue in cheek while writing all that should read it again, but the point stands that one man's just war is another man's atrocity.)

Does anyone else find irony in a man trying to reinterpret the words of a god to negate the god's words?

mazHur
08-09-2010, 03:57 PM
THE EDICTS OF KING ASHOKA


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, honors both ascetics and the householders of all religions, and he honors them with gifts and honors of various kinds.[22] But Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values this -- that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions.[23] Growth in essentials can be done in different ways, but all of them have as their root restraint in speech, that is, not praising one's own religion, or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism, it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honor other religions for this reason. By so doing, one's own religion benefits, and so do other religions, while doing otherwise harms one's own religion and the religions of others. Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought "Let me glorify my own religion," only harms his own religion. Therefore contact (between religions) is good.[24] One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrines of other religions.

Those who are content with their own religion should be told this: Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions. And to this end many are working -- Dhamma Mahamatras, Mahamatras in charge of the women's quarters, officers in charge of outlying areas, and other such officers. And the fruit of this is that one's own religion grows and the Dhamma is illuminated also.
13

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, conquered the Kalingas eight years after his coronation.[25] One hundred and fifty thousand were deported, one hundred thousand were killed and many more died (from other causes). After the Kalingas had been conquered, Beloved-of-the-Gods came to feel a strong inclination towards the Dhamma, a love for the Dhamma and for instruction in Dhamma. Now Beloved-of-the-Gods feels deep remorse for having conquered the Kalingas.

Indeed, Beloved-of-the-Gods is deeply pained by the killing, dying and deportation that take place when an unconquered country is conquered. But Beloved-of-the-Gods is pained even more by this -- that Brahmans, ascetics, and householders of different religions who live in those countries, and who are respectful to superiors, to mother and father, to elders, and who behave properly and have strong loyalty towards friends, acquaintances, companions, relatives, servants and employees -- that they are injured, killed or separated from their loved ones. Even those who are not affected (by all this) suffer when they see friends, acquaintances, companions and relatives affected. These misfortunes befall all (as a result of war), and this pains Beloved-of-the-Gods.

There is no country, except among the Greeks, where these two groups, Brahmans and ascetics, are not found, and there is no country where people are not devoted to one or another religion.[26] Therefore the killing, death or deportation of a hundredth, or even a thousandth part of those who died during the conquest of Kalinga now pains Beloved-of-the-Gods. Now Beloved-of-the-Gods thinks that even those who do wrong should be forgiven where forgiveness is possible.

The Atheist
08-09-2010, 04:37 PM
THE EDICTS OF KING ASHOKA

The point of a discussion board is to give opinion, and I'm not confident that I can assume someone's opinion because they quote something. I'm not a theist, yet quote the christian bible as well as the islamic quran.

You've quoted a passage from Buddhist literature, yet I understand you're a Muslim.

Can you tell us what it was you meant by it?

The quote itself deals with tolerance and acceptance of other religions, which is only marginally associated with the OP.

Leland Gaunt
08-09-2010, 05:32 PM
You and me both, on this one.
I still don't get what either of you are trying to say.

Maybe, but my point was more cynical than why Russell ostracised.

I've already mentioned turning the other cheek, and believe me this is an argument I've had with theists more than once!

The concepts of peace, forgiveness and non-retaliation are central tenets to christianity. Martin Luther King jnr was one of the very few theists who actually understood that.

It just amuses me that someone who is clearly a minion of Satan and bound for hell - Russell - had far better (in my opinion) morals than people who apparently receive theirs from a god.
Hmmmmm, well I was just joking around about Bertrand Russel.
I think we might be delving a little off-topic here. I'd rather not get into a whole ordeal about how the Bible is allegory, and is open to a fair deal of personal interpretation and cherry picking. Just know that I agree with you, and that religious folk can suffer from a good deal of cognitive dissonance.

I'd say more self-preservation than nationalism in regard to the churches' stance. Religions rarely stand up against being conquered.
I understand what your saying, but I thought we were talking about the country as opposed to the church. For example, in regards to WWI which you mentioned earlier, the government may have gone to war for political reasons but the people could use religion to justify participation. It was their Christian duty, or somesuch.

Dear old Tommy! Thanks for that - let's have a look at these oft-quoted rules from the dark ages of superstition and irrationality. I love this bloke!

The war must be started and controlled by the authority of state or ruler.

There must be a just cause.

The war must be for good, or against evil. Law and order must always be restored.

This is why Hitler was a catholic - he could 100%, cast-iron guarantee he was fighting a just war.

He was unquestionably head of state when started WWII. Tick.

He had a multitude of just causes! Liebensraum, Wiemar, spreading Communism/Bolshevism, the British, the French.... The Maginot Line was built before the Siegfried. Tick, tick, tick!

And a final tick on point 3. The war for good against evil - Germany had virtually no dominions against the 3/4 of the globe owned and run by the Frech and the Imerial Brits. Add into that the restrictions placed on Germany by its previous conquerors and the several hundred years of hatred and attempted invasion by the French, and there can have been few wars as just.

Hitler was a big fan of law & order, too.

Even looking at the extra couple of needs added in by the RCC, as contained in the article, Hitler must have been comfortable with starting a war.

The war must be a last resort.

No doubt about that one.

The war must be fought proportionally.

(This ambiguous statement is taken to mean: do not use more force than necessary or kill more civilians than necessary.)

Right from the start, Adolf was organised along those lines; he didn't attack civilians to any great degree - other than Jews, but since they did kill Jesus, it's probably ok. The great sweep through the low countries spared many civilians, Paris was not destroyed by bombers and I must note that Germany's immense air forces were used to bomb military targets until Churchill decided to bomb Berlin.
:D That was a fun read.

dafydd manton
08-09-2010, 05:37 PM
What I was getting at was this. You mentioned an "honest" war, but you haven't explained what you meant by that. The Atheist agreed, although we come from different directions. Can you actually justify a war? One in which YOUR family are killed or maimed? Or mine? I'd love to hear how, although I very much doubt I will!!

The Atheist
08-09-2010, 05:54 PM
I still don't get what either of you are trying to say.

daffyd's nailed it here:


What I was getting at was this. You mentioned an "honest" war, but you haven't explained what you meant by that. The Atheist agreed, although we come from different directions. Can you actually justify a war? One in which YOUR family are killed or maimed? Or mine? I'd love to hear how, although I very much doubt I will!!

To which I'll add that the entire concept of war is flawed and as repugnant to me as it was to Bertie Russell; I share his feelings 100%. I stated time and again - when I was young enough to be sent to war - that I would be a conscientious objector myself.

The only reason wars exist is because there are people dumb enough to take part in them. Without "grunts", war would be a boxing match between two old men - which would mean it would never happen.


:D That was a fun read.

Goodo! It's just as much fun writing it.

:D

Leland Gaunt
08-09-2010, 05:58 PM
What I was getting at was this. You mentioned an "honest" war, but you haven't explained what you meant by that. The Atheist agreed, although we come from different directions. Can you actually justify a war? One in which YOUR family are killed or maimed? Or mine? I'd love to hear how, although I very much doubt I will!!
Okay, sorry for being vague. I'm saying that reasons for going to war, wouldn't be hidden behind things like, God's will. Or a fight against evil. It'd be we want oil! Although, if you are trying to say that war is NEVER justified, then I think that you are ignoring a lot of political and humanitarian realities. Thank you for that wonderful bit of rhetoric there, I have indeed had a family member die in a war. Does this add anything to this discussion? No. Did your last 3 sentences add anything? No.

The only reason wars exist is because there are people dumb enough to take part in them. Without "grunts", war would be a boxing match between two old men - which would mean it would never happen.
Ok, I will bite. But now that it has come into existence, it has created certain realities. Human nature is a tough thing to change, and it would be quite the undertaking to eliminate war. My thinking is that if we can start getting rid of dishonest/poor reasons like religion, to go to war over, then overall war would decrease and only be used in the most extreme situations.

The Atheist
08-09-2010, 08:32 PM
Okay, sorry for being vague. I'm saying that reasons for going to war, wouldn't be hidden behind things like, God's will. Or a fight against evil. It'd be we want oil!

:lol:

They'll take you away...


Ok, I will bite. But now that it has come into existence, it has created certain realities. Human nature is a tough thing to change, and it would be quite the undertaking to eliminate war. My thinking is that if we can start getting rid of dishonest/poor reasons like religion, to go to war over, then overall war would decrease and only be used in the most extreme situations.

It wasn't there to bite on - it's an opinion that's had 40 years of scepticism to deal with.

I disagree with you entirely. There is no middle ground - it's either kill or do not kill.

Nobody said it would be easy to give up wars and the desire to fight in them, but I don't believe there's a way to legitimise war either. The example of WWII should disspell that forever, because one man's just reason may in fact be a very bad reason.

To avoid politics and stick to history, I'll use the example of Vietnam. The USA felt its reasons for that war were quite legitimate - they were asked to join! Yet, there is no doubt that millions of lives would have not been lost or damaged had they stayed home. All that war did was delay the inevitable victory of the Northern armies and create immense suffering in the region.

There are no "good" reasons for wars. Martin Luther King jnr changed a nation while Mohandas Ghandi reclaimed one - both with a distinctly peaceful approach. It isn't as if we have no examples of pacifism winning.

Leland Gaunt
08-09-2010, 09:03 PM
They'll take you away...
?

It wasn't there to bite on - it's an opinion that's had 40 years of scepticism to deal with.

I disagree with you entirely. There is no middle ground - it's either kill or do not kill.

Nobody said it would be easy to give up wars and the desire to fight in them, but I don't believe there's a way to legitimise war either. The example of WWII should disspell that forever, because one man's just reason may in fact be a very bad reason.

To avoid politics and stick to history, I'll use the example of Vietnam. The USA felt its reasons for that war were quite legitimate - they were asked to join! Yet, there is no doubt that millions of lives would have not been lost or damaged had they stayed home. All that war did was delay the inevitable victory of the Northern armies and create immense suffering in the region.

There are no "good" reasons for wars. Martin Luther King jnr changed a nation while Mohandas Ghandi reclaimed one - both with a distinctly peaceful approach. It isn't as if we have no examples of pacifism winning.
I bit your opinion.

There's the first problem, it cannot be left up to one man. It really should be more of an international decision. For example, x country is committing genocide, there is no sign of x country ever stopping. Genocide, is completely unacceptable, and I'm fairly certain that most people in most countries will agree with this. In such a case, I think it is perfectly acceptable, for an intervention to be made. Not by a single country, but a joint effort.

Vietnam, is another example for poor reasoning to go to war, ideological opposition. If the majority of people within a country decide communism is the way to go, then good deal. That is none of my affair. If they so choose, and choose they did, then no one should stop them. If they start massacring hundreds of thousands of people, then it is a problem.
MLK did indeed change a nation. Yet there are still racists and segregationists, on both sides of the fence. Point is, you can't convince everybody, but you can convince the majority and you have to be able to react to the violent minority that will always exist.

By the way, thank you to everyone who has responded. I'm only really beginning to flesh out who I am, and everyone here has made me have to think my position through. :thumbs_up
I eagerly wait for a rebuttal.

Virgil
08-09-2010, 09:14 PM
To avoid politics and stick to history, I'll use the example of Vietnam. The USA felt its reasons for that war were quite legitimate - they were asked to join! Yet, there is no doubt that millions of lives would have not been lost or damaged had they stayed home. All that war did was delay the inevitable victory of the Northern armies and create immense suffering in the region.

There was war going on there even before the US joined in. Millions (not sure if it's millions, but whatever) of lives were being lost beforehand and would have been lost even if the US had not joined in. You have a really simplified view of the conflict between the north and the south Vietnamese. And don't forget the three million lives lost in the region once the US pulled out. I believe the dominoe theory was correct and war would have spread across all those nations in the region. The US involvment in the region stymied the communist expansion and submission of half a dozen nations there.


There are no "good" reasons for wars. Martin Luther King jnr changed a nation while Mohandas Ghandi reclaimed one - both with a distinctly peaceful approach. It isn't as if we have no examples of pacifism winning.
Frankly that's naive. Did pacifism prevent ancient Roman conquest across Europe or Persia across asia or Chinese expansion and conquest across half of asia or Islamic conquest across north africa and western asia or germanic-viking conquest across northern Europe or slavic conquest across Russia and eastern Europe or or the Spanish conquistadors in the Americas or Napolean or Hitler or the Japanese raping of mainland China? The list goes on and on. Think of all the millions if not billions of people dead throughout history from aggression. There is little evidence that pacifism works, and I'm a Christian who believes in Christ's words. The instances of pacifism working are far and few to be found. War is not motivated by religion or money or even land. Those are just excuses from which human nature selects reasons to display aggression. War is ingrained in human nature and unless human nature is altered somehow, war will be with us until eternity.

mazHur
08-09-2010, 09:21 PM
The point of a discussion board is to give opinion, and I'm not confident that I can assume someone's opinion because they quote something. I'm not a theist, yet quote the christian bible as well as the islamic quran.

You've quoted a passage from Buddhist literature, yet I understand you're a Muslim.

Can you tell us what it was you meant by it?

The quote itself deals with tolerance and acceptance of other religions, which is only marginally associated with the OP.

In fact the quote deals with how War changed the outlook of a Great King due to religion ie after Ashoka adopted Buddhism. It also gives rise to the question that 'warring tendency' is much dependent on the 'religion' one adheres to.

Sometimes a quote is necessary to convey a 'sea in a nutshell' rather than
keep treading on the beaten track...

War, I think, is only necessary in self-defense.....coupled with the 'ideological war' of religion or no religion, whatever.
[/B]

.........

The Atheist
08-09-2010, 10:16 PM
There's the first problem, it cannot be left up to one man. It really should be more of an international decision. For example, x country is committing genocide, there is no sign of x country ever stopping. Genocide, is completely unacceptable, and I'm fairly certain that most people in most countries will agree with this. In such a case, I think it is perfectly acceptable, for an intervention to be made. Not by a single country, but a joint effort.

Well, I can't deal with this without recourse to politics, so I'll just note that both the UN and League of Nations failed to make it happen.

The power is actually with the people, not policymakers, but they'll probably never get it.



There was war going on there even before the US joined in. Millions (not sure if it's millions, but whatever) of lives were being lost beforehand and would have been lost even if the US had not joined in.

I count millions of Cambodians in the mix.

That the conflict had been going on for many years is hardly an excuse for the US continuation of the conflict, and as we can all see in hindsight, it was an abject failure. 58,000 American families would not have been bereaved for starters.


You have a really simplified view of the conflict between the north and the south Vietnamese.

Not at all - I understand the history very well indeed, but I am dealing with just one part; the US involvement.


And don't forget the three million lives lost in the region once the US pulled out.

I don't - see above re: Cambodia.


I believe the dominoe theory was correct and war would have spread across all those nations in the region. The US involvment in the region stymied the communist expansion and submission of half a dozen nations there.

I will just beg to differ, but it's a beautiful theory which nobody can ever say for sure would have happened.



Frankly that's naive.

In what way? It is factual that Ghandi and MLK used pacifist techniques to achieve great victories, or are you disputing that?


Did pacifism prevent ancient Roman conquest ....

Show me where organised pacifism featured in any of those conflicts and you may have a point. I also did not say that pacifism has always worked.

Please try responding to what was said rather than what you wish had been said.


There is little evidence that pacifism works, and I'm a Christian who believes in Christ's words.

You must find that one hell of a conundrum, but in terms of evidence that pacifism works, I have given you two excellent examples, so saying there's little evidence is just erroneous.


The instances of pacifism working are far and few to be found.

Aside from the two shining examples....

I again reiterate that organised pacifism has not actually featured in many conflicts, so the real naivety would be to claim that few examples have worked, because there have been incredibly few attempts.

If you can think of another conflict where large-scale pacifist behaviour was attempted, please let me know.


War is not motivated by religion or money or even land. Those are just excuses from which human nature selects reasons to display aggression. War is ingrained in human nature and unless human nature is altered somehow, war will be with us until eternity.

That's a defeatist attitude if ever I've seen one.

I seriously wonder why you bothered posting all of that. You offer no evidence, yet ignore that which has been presented and then follow it up with a series of non sequiturs.

billl
08-10-2010, 01:14 AM
Obviously non-violence can be very effective in certain circumstances. MLK and Ghandi used nonviolent tactics to transform their societies. Even today, the difficult but brave tactic is showing some effectiveness in Burma, although the outcome is still unsure, to say the least, and I don't mean to suggest that a happy ending is clearly in sight.

But are there any examples of non-violent opposition (alone) halting a military invasion? Can we imagine that the Poles, using such a tactic, would have had success against Hitler?

I think it is fine to point at aggressors like Hitler (even all aggressors) and suggest they would have been better to choose non-violence. But would England at that time have been able to hold out against the Germans without violent resistance, and without support in such from the U.S. (and the Soviets)?

Of course, international news, satellite TV, and the internet might open up new possibilities, and might have given a field full of unarmed Poles a chance against an armored assault... But there is still the problem of "Who controls the media?", as well as 'tribal-type' thinking that might be all too ready to suspect propaganda and conspiracy, etc.

Anyhow, there seems to be some apples and oranges going on in this discussion, and I wonder if some people are misunderstanding what others are favoring or opposing. I'm not trying to argue that organized non-violent resistance can't work, but I think it is a bit drastic to say that it would be/would have been an effective method in each and every matter of self-defense.


EDIT: Wow, I'm sorry, I just realized this has really gone off-topic at this point. I was just trying to address nonviolent resistance to War (i.e. military invasion), and didn't realize the thread has Religion in the title...

The Atheist
08-10-2010, 02:18 AM
I'm not trying to argue that organized non-violent resistance can't work, but I think it is a bit drastic to say that it would be/would have been an effective method in each and every matter of self-defense.

I'm certainly not saying it would work in all cases - and the two cases I used as examples didn't involve an invader.

On the other hand, who's to say that passive tactics wouldn't work in the longer term?

You're also right that it's a long way off-topic :D - amazing how many threads I'm in do that...

I'll leave it there!

mazHur
08-10-2010, 02:56 AM
Obviously non-violence can be very effective in certain circumstances. MLK and Ghandi used nonviolent tactics to transform their societies. Even today, the difficult but brave tactic is showing some effectiveness in Burma, although the outcome is still unsure, to say the least, and I don't mean to suggest that a happy ending is clearly in sight.

But are there any examples of non-violent opposition (alone) halting a military invasion? Can we imagine that the Poles, using such a tactic, would have had success against Hitler?

I think it is fine to point at aggressors like Hitler (even all aggressors) and suggest they would have been better to choose non-violence. But would England at that time have been able to hold out against the Germans without violent resistance, and without support in such from the U.S. (and the Soviets)?

Of course, international news, satellite TV, and the internet might open up new possibilities, and might have given a field full of unarmed Poles a chance against an armored assault... But there is still the problem of "Who controls the media?", as well as 'tribal-type' thinking that might be all too ready to suspect propaganda and conspiracy, etc.

Anyhow, there seems to be some apples and oranges going on in this discussion, and I wonder if some people are misunderstanding what others are favoring or opposing. I'm not trying to argue that organized non-violent resistance can't work, but I think it is a bit drastic to say that it would be/would have been an effective method in each and every matter of self-defense.

Gandhi was a clever man. He had his fingers on the nerve of time. He could perceive that the British colonial control was losing its grip on India and the nationalist forces were behind him. Gandhi used non-violence and rejection of all imported stuff in protest. Weak as British colonial grip had become on India there was little left for them not to relent. From this it's clear that non-violence mainly works depending on the circumstances of a place and its people. Analogously, otherwise it is 'spare the rod, spoil the child' phenomenon.

JBI
08-10-2010, 09:54 AM
There was war going on there even before the US joined in. Millions (not sure if it's millions, but whatever) of lives were being lost beforehand and would have been lost even if the US had not joined in. You have a really simplified view of the conflict between the north and the south Vietnamese. And don't forget the three million lives lost in the region once the US pulled out. I believe the dominoe theory was correct and war would have spread across all those nations in the region. The US involvment in the region stymied the communist expansion and submission of half a dozen nations there.


Frankly that's naive. Did pacifism prevent ancient Roman conquest across Europe or Persia across asia or Chinese expansion and conquest across half of asia or Islamic conquest across north africa and western asia or germanic-viking conquest across northern Europe or slavic conquest across Russia and eastern Europe or or the Spanish conquistadors in the Americas or Napolean or Hitler or the Japanese raping of mainland China? The list goes on and on. Think of all the millions if not billions of people dead throughout history from aggression. There is little evidence that pacifism works, and I'm a Christian who believes in Christ's words. The instances of pacifism working are far and few to be found. War is not motivated by religion or money or even land. Those are just excuses from which human nature selects reasons to display aggression. War is ingrained in human nature and unless human nature is altered somehow, war will be with us until eternity.

Which half of Asia did China conquer? I think you mean Mongolian.

Anyway, I agree with you, but war and aggression are becoming more and more dated. The new trend is soft-imperialism. Notice how Germany, for instance, tries to promote themselves as following Goethe's legacy, China Confucius' (even though 40 years ago they would beat you in the street for carrying a copy), Canada an "arctic vision" and Japan now a popular culture imperialism.

Culture and redefinition is the new in, as nobody wants war anymore - it's been proven to be a dated concept, since solidified nation borders are the preferred route over constant clashing or aggression. In truth, the US is one of the few countries that seems to promote a violent aggression over a soft one.

Take for instance Taiwan - the old "Free China" now has, in a way, beat the big old Red China through culture - Chinese people listen to music from Taiwan, watch TV dramas from Taiwan, and do it all on Taiwanese made electronics. Culturally, they have become molded to a semi-Taiwanese mentality, so that the issue of cross-straight relations is now reduced to "let's just not discuss it, and continue to get rich off of our trade surplus with them.



In this scheme, Religion, as it ties in, is actually a very interesting thing, since it is ultimately an oral, rather than written tradition (until recently).

Christianity is the one thing that really seems to transcend geographic borders in the world, and, from my reckoning, if we take Vatican 2 into account, is one of the most humbling, beneficial doctrines to spread, even with the chaotic European disasters that it encompassed - it essentially kept Europe together over an 800 year period, and kept culture alive.

Now, religion now plays a rather minor role in most places that have undergone a modernization process of some kind (that is, a transformation that has divorced the contemporary society from the past, so that the past ultimately becomes a museum).

As a form of soft-imperialism, the fact that some churches are completely divorced from national boundaries makes them go beyond that category. The connection between religion and War really now is very limited - it's more a question of nationalist-religious intolerance and war, which is a different animal all together, apart from religion.

mazHur
08-10-2010, 12:53 PM
by JBI
The connection between religion and War really now is very limited - it's more a question of nationalist-religious intolerance and war, which is a different animal all together, apart from religion.

Add to it linguistic and sectarian (ethnic) aspirations and you get to the heart of matter.
Very nice comment, JBI.:)

Leland Gaunt
08-10-2010, 01:28 PM
Culture and redefinition is the new in, as nobody wants war anymore - it's been proven to be a dated concept, since solidified nation borders are the preferred route over constant clashing or aggression.
What study was that? What poll? Where are the statistics? Who proved that?That is an extremely reductionist view on what war is and can be.

Take for instance Taiwan - the old "Free China" now has, in a way, beat the big old Red China through culture - Chinese people listen to music from Taiwan, watch TV dramas from Taiwan, and do it all on Taiwanese made electronics.
Insignificant, my bet, is that China could really care less. You know, them becoming a economic and political powerhouse.

Christianity is the one thing that really seems to transcend geographic borders in the world
Really, the one thing?

one of the most humbling, beneficial doctrines to spread, even with the chaotic European disasters that it encompassed - it essentially kept Europe together over an 800 year period, and kept culture alive.
Care to elaborate?

Now, religion now plays a rather minor role in most places that have undergone a modernization process of some kind (that is, a transformation that has divorced the contemporary society from the past, so that the past ultimately becomes a museum).
If you don't mind, I'd like to talk about this some more. But it takes us off topic, so I'd really appreciate it if we could continue this through PM. If you would be willing to, send me a PM so we can get this ball rolling. Or maybe start a new thread.

Apologies, for not addressing some of the points you made, they were touching upon current politics just a wee bit too much.

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 02:19 PM
This is really a topic that professional political scientist can't even agree on. There are some, from the Neorealist school, who think war is an inevitable tool to be used for a state's own benefit. They think states act in their own interest, and will take advantage of perceived chances at increasing their power/security when they arise. The other major school, Neoliberalism, would probably agree more with the sentiment JBI expressed, they think trade and democracy have essentially put an end to war as a useful tool. Marxist have bought into the idea of cultural imperialism too.

There's also the major issue of the nuclear bomb, which has made large scale war between major powers a very risky business, and to date no state has tried to risk it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neorealism_%28international_relations%29

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

JBI
08-10-2010, 03:14 PM
To Leland

Just read the works of Jesus Christ - for their time, they were beyond revolutionary. If you look across the world at the time period, I cannot find any other author, in any tradition that I have seen who has had the impact of creating a doctrine of human kindness toward fellow man - the gospels are filled with promotion of charity, and good will. Likewise, the whole catholic culture is built around a mythology of good deeds.

Atheist, as I am, or believer, one cannot deny the good Christianity has done in the world, in terms of keeping Europe together - throughout the dark ages, the Catholic church was responsible for keeping all the traditions and inheritances of the classical world in one hand, and also maintaining a civil coherence on the continent as a whole. The identity that shaped Europe is inseparable from a Christian tradition.


As for my mark about the "one" thing, that is a figure of speech, take it easy.

As for the last point, if you want, start a new thread, or just get any book on Modernization theory, as others have articulated it far better than I have. The whole field of political science in truth, seems rooted in a discussion of Modernization theory.

Virgil
08-10-2010, 08:11 PM
That the conflict had been going on for many years is hardly an excuse for the US continuation of the conflict, and as we can all see in hindsight, it was an abject failure. 58,000 American families would not have been bereaved for starters.

If Vietnam was one element of the overall Cold War, then no it was not a failure. Ultimately we won the war over communism, and frankly after Vietnam, there was no successful Communist expansion with the possible exception of Angola. And that is no coincidence. We outlasted them. We burned them out. And if you add the 34,000 we lost from the Korean War to the 58,000, that amounts to less than a quarter of the men we lost in WWII. No good man should have to die, but freedom isn't free but Soviet expansion had to be stopped.


Not at all - I understand the history very well indeed, but I am dealing with just one part; the US involvement.
Well, that sounds like you just pick up the pop culture view of the Vietnam War. Dealing with one part is pulling the war out of context. That's simplifying to the point of fallacy.


I will just beg to differ, but it's a beautiful theory which nobody can ever say for sure would have happened.
True, one can never know the alternative. But communism never again significantly expanded after the Vietnam.


In what way? It is factual that Ghandi and MLK used pacifist techniques to achieve great victories, or are you disputing that?
Well, first of all MLK civil rights accomplishments were not an international war, so i don't even see what that has to do with the discussion. It was an intra-national issue. Second, you're pulling the pacificism out of context. Sure MLK was a pacifist who pushed civil rights laws in a non-violent manner. But in parallel there were lots of riots and violent outburts that went on for close to a century. All that contributed to the ultimate decisions to extend civil rights to african-americans. To simply say that MLK was solely responsible for changing the civil rights laws in the US is to again simplify to the point of fallacy. It's again a pop culture look at the issue. I can't speak with confidence to Ghandi's accomplishments, but again that has an element of an intra-national issue (though admittedly complicated because of colonialism) and he too was not working in an isolated vacuum. I believe there were lots of violent events in parallel with his non-violent approach. I don't see how one strips away the overall context.


Show me where organised pacifism featured in any of those conflicts and you may have a point. I also did not say that pacifism has always worked.
Well, just like I can't prove the dominoe theory since I can't alter actual events, neither can you say that pacifism would have successfully altered any of those events. Yes, there were lots of pacifist in this events. Many of the Indian cultures over taken by the conquistodores were relatively non-violent. Check out how the Viklings singled out monestaries because of their lack of will to fight. Or what about the Jews under the nazis. But to claim the roman Empire or seventh century Islamic jihad, or napoleon or Japanese conquest of China would have been halted from pacifism is - what can I say - laughable.



You must find that one hell of a conundrum, but in terms of evidence that pacifism works, I have given you two excellent examples, so saying there's little evidence is just erroneous.
Flawed examples as I've pointed out. The only real example I can think of where pacifism stopped a waring army is Pope Leo stopping Atilla the Hun at the gates of Rome, where Atilla was actually moved by the Pope's humility.


I again reiterate that organised pacifism has not actually featured in many conflicts, so the real naivety would be to claim that few examples have worked, because there have been incredibly few attempts.
Well, I'm sorry, but reality has tons of examples of brutal killers, way more than your two shining examples. Here's something I was just reading about Che Guavera:


Rigoberto Hernandez was 17 when Che’s soldiers dragged him from his cell in La Cabana, jerked his head back to gag him and started dragging him to the stake. Little “Rigo” pleaded his innocence to the very bloody end. But his pleas were garbled and difficult to understand. His struggles while being gagged and bound to the stake were also awkward. The boy had been a janitor in a Havana high school and was mentally retarded. His single mother had pleaded his case with hysterical sobs. She had begged, beseeched and finally proven to his “prosecutors” that it was a case of mistaken identity. Her only son, a boy in such a condition, couldn’t possibly have been “a CIA agent planting bombs.”

“Fuego!” and the firing squad volley riddled Rigo’s little bent body as he moaned and struggled awkwardly against his bounds, blindfold and gag. Remember the gallant Che Guevara’s instructions to his revolutionary courts: “Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail.” And remember that Harvard Law School’s invitation to Fidel Castro to speak on campus, and rollicking ovation he received, happened in the very midst of this appalling and lawless bloodbath.

http://1z3em8xyw.site.aplus.net/UserGoofigureDetail.asp?gooID=11065&catID=&forID=37&searchfield=&usrID=&
I assume you think that pacifism would have worked there.


If you can think of another conflict where large-scale pacifist behaviour was attempted, please let me know.
I'll say it again and in bold:
The instances of pacifism working are far and few to be found.



That's a defeatist attitude if ever I've seen one.
Human nature doesn't change. That's reality. I don't suck in to utopias.


I seriously wonder why you bothered posting all of that. You offer no evidence, yet ignore that which has been presented and then follow it up with a series of non sequiturs.
No evidence? I listed at least a half a dozen historical events. Here I'll list them again:

Did pacifism prevent ancient Roman conquest across Europe or Persia across asia or Chinese expansion and conquest across half of asia or Islamic conquest across north africa and western asia or germanic-viking conquest across northern Europe or slavic conquest across Russia and eastern Europe or or the Spanish conquistadors in the Americas or Napolean or Hitler or the Japanese raping of mainland China? The list goes on and on.
Should I continue and mention English, French, Belgium, Portugese, German, Italian colonialism? Or the Vedic empires or Alexander the Great or the Babylonian conquests, the Aztec empire, the list goes on and on across time and geography. Human nature is human nature. There has never been a 25 year period where there wasn't a major war somewhere on the planet. Even the Pax Romana is a fallacy. There was plenty of warfare during the 200 years.

JuniperWoolf
08-10-2010, 08:33 PM
I'll say it again and in bold:
The instances of pacifism working are far and few to be found.

His whole point was that the instances of pacifism having been attempted are few. There are two grand examples of it having been attempted and greatly succeeding. Can you give any examples of it having been attempted on a grand scale and failing? If not then there's no proof that pacifism is doomed to failure. You see, because if it hasn't even been tried, then how do you know that it won't work?


We outlasted them. We burned them out.

Who's "we?"

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 09:11 PM
Although I stand on opposite polls of the political and ideological spectrum from Virgil, I agree that war is simply a fact of statecraft. It's not about whether war is justifiable or good, but it's a necessity. Historically, it has been reluctance to intervene more than over-eagerness that has led to the most catastrophes. How much better off would the people of Rwanda have been if the UN Peace Keepers were given the go ahead to seize the military weapons cashes in Kigali, instead UN headquarters told them to stand aside and just try to shelter a few civilians as long as they could, and even that was deemed too risky when a few Belgians died.

Military force is something we shouldn't use without great consideration, but is something we occasionally have to and should use. Pacifism is fine as a political strategy in a functional democracy, but it does little to stop the local crack head from stealing your TV, or to stop the neighbouring dictator from annexing Czechoslovakia.

BienvenuJDC
08-10-2010, 09:30 PM
Although I stand on opposite polls of the political and ideological spectrum from Virgil, I agree that war is simply a fact of statecraft. It's not about whether war is justifiable or good, but it's a necessity. Historically, it has been reluctance to intervene more than over-eagerness that has led to the most catastrophes. How much better off would the people of Rwanda have been if the UN Peace Keepers were given the go ahead to seize the military weapons cashes in Kigali, instead UN headquarters told them to stand aside and just try to shelter a few civilians as long as they could, and even that was deemed too risky when a few Belgians died.

Military force is something we shouldn't use without great consideration, but is something we occasionally have to and should use. Pacifism is fine as a political strategy in a functional democracy, but it does little to stop the local crack head from stealing your TV, or to stop the neighbouring dictator from annexing Czechoslovakia.

I agree much with what you say. I like the quote attributed to Teddy Roosevelt, "Speak softly, but carry a big stick."

Sometimes a large force may never have to be used if people know that the one's holding the stick WILL use it....especially to defend humanity.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 10:16 PM
I agree much with what you say. I like the quote attributed to Teddy Roosevelt, "Speak softly, but carry a big stick."

Sometimes a large force may never have to be used if people know that the one's holding the stick WILL use it....especially to defend humanity.

The United States of America has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with reportedly 5,113 operational grade weapons. The United States is also the only country to detonate a nuclear weapon in an urban population, twice. Following your sound rationality, I suppose humanity has been gloriously defended, twice.

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 10:30 PM
Russia actually has the largest nuclear arsenal, but less sophisticated than the American's.

Besides, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings killed around 300,000. The Japanese killed a comparable amount in the Chinese capital of Nanking over a mere 6 week period.

Not to mention the other humanitarian atrocities of the war.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima were a horrible thing, but they're barely a blip on the scale of human slaughter this century, let alone of WWII even.

The Atheist
08-10-2010, 10:32 PM
His whole point was that the instances of pacifism having been attempted are few. There are two grand examples of it having been attempted and greatly succeeding. Can you give any examples of it having been attempted on a grand scale and failing? If not then there's no proof that pacifism is doomed to failure. You see, because if it hasn't even been tried, then how do you know that it won't work?

Saved me the time replying. You clearly got it, so I imagine others can if they put their minds to it.

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 10:34 PM
Saved me the time replying. You clearly got it, so I imagine others can if they put their minds to it.

It's just a bad strategy though, if you try pacifism and it doesn't work you're **** out of luck. On the other hand, military defense has proven more or less a successful strategy.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 10:52 PM
Russia actually has the largest nuclear arsenal, but less sophisticated than the American's.

Besides, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings killed around 300,000. The Japanese killed a comparable amount in the Chinese capital of Nanking over a mere 6 week period.

Not to mention the other humanitarian atrocities of the war.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima were a horrible thing, but they're barely a blip on the scale of human slaughter this century, let alone of WWII even.

Actually Russia does not have the largest nuclear arsenal. In 2009 Russia was reported to have only 3,909 operational nuclear warheads. The Japanese were going to surrender, the USSR's invasion was two weeks away. The weapons were used only as a pompous show of strength. In terms of semantics, your statement is imbued with undertones of 'Japan had it coming'. I would think carefully of the ramifications of such a statement, for these atrocities do not seem at all that horrible to you, and this perturbs me. What do YOU define human atrocity as? For this is something that I would like to know.

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 11:05 PM
Actually Russia does not have the largest nuclear arsenal. In 2009 Russia was reported to have only 3,909 operational nuclear warheads. The Japanese were going to surrender, the USSR's invasion was two weeks away. The weapons were used only as a pompous show of strength. In terms of semantics, your statement is imbued with undertones of 'Japan had it coming'. I would think carefully of the ramifications of such a statement, for these atrocities do not seem at all that horrible to you, and this perturbs me. What do YOU define human atrocity as? For this is something that I would like to know.

If you think the Russians only have 3,909 warheads, you're either misinformed or naive.

http://www.cdi.org/nuclear/database/nukestab.html

Moreover, the intent wasn't to colour the Japanese as deserving anything, but rather to place the casualty tole into perspective. It's not as if the Americans were the sole murderers of civilians during that war, and overall they killed much less than the Japanese did.

Whether the use of the bombs was necessary or justified is not so simple. If the Japanese had surrendered after a Soviet invasion, we would have had to deal with an extended Soviet empire. How many more would have died in those occupied territories under Soviet occupation? How many were saved from starvation by bringing a surefired end to the killing, and how many combat deaths? A protracted Soviet invasion isn't really as rosy an alternative as it may appear.

BienvenuJDC
08-10-2010, 11:13 PM
The United States of America has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with reportedly 5,113 operational grade weapons. The United States is also the only country to detonate a nuclear weapon in an urban population, twice. Following your sound rationality, I suppose humanity has been gloriously defended, twice.

Like I said, the BIG STICK isn't any good unless people know that it will be used. I do not condemn the men who made the decisions to use those nukes those two times. Japan would have send more lives to their graves than that if the US didn't end the war. I'd much rather well intended men doing their best to end a war, than a country who supports terrorism and attacks civilians buildings with civilian airplanes.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 11:15 PM
If you think the Russians only have 3,909 warheads, you're either misinformed or naive.

http://www.cdi.org/nuclear/database/nukestab.html

Moreover, the intent wasn't to colour the Japanese as deserving anything, but rather to place the casualty tole into perspective. It's not as if the Americans were the sole murderers of civilians during that war, and overall they killed much less than the Japanese did.

Whether the use of the bombs was necessary or justified is not so simple. If the Japanese had surrendered after a Soviet invasion, we would have had to deal with an extended Soviet empire. How many more would have died in those occupied territories under Soviet occupation? How many were saved from starvation by bringing a surefired end to the killing, and how many combat deaths? A protracted Soviet invasion isn't really as rosy an alternative as it may appear.

That is precisely why I used the word 'reportedly'. Also a more reliable source would be this:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=125346&sectionid=3510203

According to your source, which is unofficial, Russia only has 4000 operational nuclear warheads.

Now if you think that the Japanese killed less than the American's then you are certainly, and actually naive. Please do not patronize me with your history lesson, I am acutely aware of the Soviet-American relationship. In similar mind, I apologize, but I can no longer sustain a conversation with a person who believes the use of nuclear warheads can be justified, in any circumstance, for whatever reasons. For the same person ultimately believes that murder is permissible and excusable.


Like I said, the BIG STICK isn't any good unless people know that it will be used. I do not condemn the men who made the decisions to use those nukes those two times. Japan would have send more lives to their graves than that if the US didn't end the war. I'd much rather well intended men doing their best to end a war, than a country who supports terrorism and attacks civilians buildings with civilian airplanes.

And this reasoning is indicative of exactly why there need not be an aorta of 'religion' for there to be war. I think this thread has been successfully answered.

BienvenuJDC
08-10-2010, 11:23 PM
And this reasoning is indicative of exactly why there need not be an aorta of 'religion' for there to be war. I think this thread has been successfully answered.

You'll have to explain that one then...

...neither the Soviet Union NOR Japan was fighting their battle for religion sake, however, many others (like militant terrorist groups) do. There are many reasons that people fight wars, sometimes evil dictators just use "religion" to rally support from the masses...but there will always be an arsenal of statistics to justify one's opinion.

Leland Gaunt
08-10-2010, 11:25 PM
In similar mind, I apologize, but I can no longer sustain a conversation with a person who believes the use of nuclear warheads can be justified, in any circumstance, for whatever reasons. For the same person ultimately believes that murder is permissible and excusable.

Is he falling up a slippery slope?

I think this thread has been successfully answered
There was never a question.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 11:27 PM
You'll have to explain that one then...

...neither the Soviet Union NOR Japan was fighting their battle for religion sake, however, many others (like militant terrorist groups) do. There are many reasons that people fight wars, sometimes evil dictators just use "religion" to rally support from the masses...but there will always be an arsenal of statistics to justify one's opinion.

I shudder at the thought of such a gross gap in communication. YOUR reasoning (in justifying America's use of nuclear warheads) is indicative to ME why religion does not even have to factor in this debate of why wars happen. Do I need to be clearer? Or will you again retort to something I have not even mentioned to?

Leland do not take my statements out of context. That is unethical and childish.

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 11:37 PM
According to your source, which is unofficial, Russia only has 4000 operational nuclear warheads.

The CDI is a reliable think tank that compiles data on military technology. If you click on the individual nation subheadings, you can be lead to detailed articles with extensive bibliographies. The list is unfortunately 13 years old, and Americans and Russians have likely both continued to downsize arsenals, but it's silly to think Russia would have significantly less, when they have a history of maintaining a larger arsenal, and continue to keep their arsenal secret.



Now if you think that the Japanese killed less than the American's then you are certainly, and actually naive.

I said the opposite, or maybe you've made a typo here. Either way, the Japanese are responsible for an estimated 10 million civilian deaths in China, Korea, and South East Asia. Any civilian deaths that can be attributed to the Americans during the war don't approach that number.



Please do not patronize me with your history lesson, I am acutely aware of the Soviet-American relationship. In similar mind, I apologize, but I can no longer sustain a conversation with a person who believes the use of nuclear warheads can be justified, in any circumstance, for whatever reasons. For the same person ultimately believes that murder is permissible and excusable.

There was no patronizing involved, I responded with a reason why I don't think the impending Soviet invasion, which you proposed as a reason why the bombing was unjustified, didn't necessarily make the use of the bombs unjustifiable.

Geez, you're awfully self-righteous for someone who started this off by attacking Americans humanitarian efforts. If you were gonna begin with the a priori assumption that the use of nuclear weapons is never justifiable, why begin the discussion at all. What differentiates the use of nuclear weapons from any other weapon, not much if you ask me.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 11:38 PM
Furthermore, Leland as to there not being any questions let me refresh your memory. In your first post in this thread you quoted the following questions:

"Wars not caused by religion? Small mattre of WW2, and the Nazi agression against Judaism? The continuing battles in England between Catholic and Protestant? The wars between England and Wales, or Scotland? The Troubles in Ireland? The continuing punch -up between Islam and The Rest? Priests preaching young men in to the trenches of WW1? Holy Wars all over the place? Crusades? The Israelite Wars? I'm not convinced, I'm afraid."

Are these not questions?

Leland Gaunt
08-10-2010, 11:38 PM
Alright, I fixed the first quote. That was my error.
The second I don't see any trouble with. You claimed you had answered the thread, you had but stated your opinion on a minor part of the issue. The issue is a lot more than, whether or not religion is needed for war.

Are these not questions?
Certainly, but they are questions regarding but one avenue of discussion that is allowed for under the rather broad title of Religion and War.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 11:43 PM
The CDI is a reliable think tank that compiles data on military technology. If you click on the individual nation subheadings, you can be lead to detailed articles with extensive bibliographies. The list is unfortunately 13 years old, and Americans and Russians have likely both continued to downsize arsenals, but it's silly to think Russia would have significantly less, when they have a history of maintaining a larger arsenal, and continue to keep their arsenal secret.



I said the opposite, or maybe you've made a typo here. Either way, the Japanese are responsible for an estimated 10 million civilian deaths in China, Korea, and South East Asia. Any civilian deaths that can be attributed to the Americans during the war don't approach that number.



There was no patronizing involved, I responded with a reason why I don't think the impending Soviet invasion, which you proposed as a reason why the bombing was unjustified, didn't necessarily make the use of the bombs unjustifiable.

Geez, you're awfully self-righteous for someone who started this off by attacking Americans humanitarian efforts. If you were gonna begin with the a priori assumption that the use of nuclear weapons is never justifiable, why begin the discussion at all. What differentiates the use of nuclear weapons from any other weapon, not much if you ask me.

Yes it was a typo, if you can call it that. My mistake. You think the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were 'humanitarian efforts'?

All weapons, regardless of weapon grade, should be decommissioned. This is the first statement of yours I agree with.

Religion is not needed for anything. Not for war. Not for life. Not for discipline. Religion is not needed.

Leland Gaunt
08-10-2010, 11:48 PM
Religion is not needed for anything. Not for war. Not for life. Not for discipline. Religion is not needed.
While I am inclined to agree, only one of those has anything to do with the topic at hand. And it is but a part of that topic.

BienvenuJDC
08-10-2010, 11:49 PM
Religion is not needed for anything. Not for war. Not for life. Not for discipline. Religion is not needed.

Merely a matter of opinion that most of the world does not agree with.

How many hospitals would not exist today if it wasn't for religion?
How many schools would NEVER have been established if it weren't for religion?
How many charities wouldn't be around if it weren't for religion?

I'm not saying that there are not non-religious people doing good things, but that a great deal of humanitarian works are done by religions.

OrphanPip
08-10-2010, 11:51 PM
Religion is not needed for anything. Not for war. Not for life. Not for discipline. Religion is not needed.

Well this I certainly agree with, I can quite do without religion.

However, the statement at the end of your previous post I would find a rather dangerous idea. The only way that works is as long as there is no one anywhere who thinks it might be advantageous to tuck away a weapon for a rainy day, and knowing human beings almost everyone would want to have one of the few weapons left on Earth if in some hypothetical world the governments all became saints and gave up their weapons for dismantlement. I don't trust my neighbours not to hurt me, I certainly don't trust foreign governments not to want to hurt me. I'd rather not be defenseless.

.Kafka
08-10-2010, 11:57 PM
Well this I certainly agree with, I can quite do without religion.

However, the statement at the end of your previous post I would find a rather dangerous idea. The only way that works is as long as there is no one anywhere who thinks it might be advantageous to tuck away a weapon for a rainy day, and knowing human beings almost everyone would want to have one of the few weapons left on Earth if in some hypothetical world the governments all became saints and gave up their weapons for dismantlement. I don't trust my neighbours not to hurt me, I certainly don't trust foreign governments not to want to hurt me. I'd rather not be defenseless.

I understand your contention. Let me clarify. All weapons that can kill indiscriminately should be decommissioned, ie. - atomic weapons, clutter bombs, daisy cutters, etc. For the killing of civilians is inexcusable.

Leland Gaunt
08-11-2010, 12:00 AM
All weapons can be used indiscriminately.

OrphanPip
08-11-2010, 12:03 AM
I understand your contention. Let me clarify. All weapons that can kill indiscriminately should be decommissioned, ie. - atomic weapons, clutter bombs, daisy cutters, etc. For the killing of civilians is inexcusable.

I think most wars start with this idea, but then one side gets desperate and will start to target civilians. Then you're faced with a dilemma, do you allow your civilians to die without striking back, or do you respond in turn and target enemy civilians. The logical step, if you want to win the war, is to target the enemy civilians. It's ugly, and it's not a good thing, but it's just another reality of wars past.

Initiating such civilian targeting tactics, I can agree is morally wrong, and it's probably not even sound military strategy. I'm not sure a modern military would want to be without these weapons though. That kind of warfare is mostly obsolete now anyway.

Leland Gaunt
08-11-2010, 12:11 AM
Civilian deaths would not stop with decommissioning of those weapons.

JBI
08-11-2010, 12:18 AM
Furthermore, Leland as to there not being any questions let me refresh your memory. In your first post in this thread you quoted the following questions:

"Wars not caused by religion? Small mattre of WW2, and the Nazi agression against Judaism? The continuing battles in England between Catholic and Protestant? The wars between England and Wales, or Scotland? The Troubles in Ireland? The continuing punch -up between Islam and The Rest? Priests preaching young men in to the trenches of WW1? Holy Wars all over the place? Crusades? The Israelite Wars? I'm not convinced, I'm afraid."

Are these not questions?

The problem with that statement is, every one of those conflicts has a background that is nonreligious - so take the first few - Nazi Aggression wasn't really due to religion, but to hyper-nationalism, and a sense of genetic superiority, coupled with a failure of the West, and an easy scape goat to blame.

As for England, perhaps, though the separation between Churches had nothing to do with theology, in that it was a matter of an ugly wife's uncle holding the Pope hostage, thereby making the common annulment that would have happened impossible. As for the impending conflict - it also seemed to be a matter of cultural and socio-economic self determination. Even so though, that wasn't quite a "war" of religions.

It's really easy to blame religion, even for the so called "War on Terror" in the world right now. Then again, if you look at the problems, generally there is an underlayer of non-religious conflict, such as imperialism, foreign occupancy, and post-colonial globalization, to name a few.

European wars generally, if we look historically, had the religious tinge, but even that is vague. It is easy to blame the conflict between Irish and English persons on religion, but that is to ignore the fact that England was a colonial occupant on the island, and when people's identity and liberty are threatened, they will go to no end to defend themselves, and in the process, cling harder to that which they feel is under attack.

Just read Franz Fannon's work on the Algerian Independence - notably his essay on Muslim garb in Algeria to get the idea.


Religion is not needed for anything. Not for war. Not for life. Not for discipline. Religion is not needed.

Yes, true, mankind isn't needed either, nor is cancer, or grape juice. I'm not needed either, and I suspect the same of you. That really isn't a convincing argument - very little is "needed."

As it is, religion does quite a lot of good in the world - there is no denying it - the charity of religious institutions and their functions in fostering community amongst people is to be commended. I am not a believer, but I can still appreciate the cultural benefits of a religious tradition.

My family is Jewish, but I, as a non-believer, still see the qualities in the traditions and history I come from, and the good sense of community it creates. I can go into a synagogue across the world and feel welcomed - that isn't something small - it is a part of identity - can it be lived without? Perhaps, we can live without Chinese food too, but Chinese food is a respectable art form and is worth saving and enjoying.

Leland Gaunt
08-11-2010, 12:26 AM
Yes, true, mankind isn't needed either, nor is cancer, or grape juice. I'm not needed either, and I suspect the same of you. That really isn't a convincing argument - very little is "needed."
It's safe to assume that he was saying that religion is not needed in relation to mankind. Which I agree with. Please, don't take this as me denying the good religion does do, just that it isn't necessary for good to be done.

The Atheist
08-11-2010, 12:29 AM
It's just a bad strategy though, if you try pacifism and it doesn't work you're **** out of luck.

Is that true, though?

Take a war - any war will do. One side lost in each case. Would the slaughter have been worse if one side had resorted to not fighting? Given most of humankind's wars have been genocidal, losing has usually been equivalent to being wiped out, so where's the downside?

Since we're on religion and war, the bible is quite clear that when an enemy is conquered, all the men should be killed and all the young women taken for breeding with everyone else enslaved.

Passive resistance is hardly a worse an outcome than that, and that attitude encompasses most wars that took place in BC years.

Take something as obvious as WWII - that seems to match most people's description of a "just" war - on the Allied side. Would the world have been that much worse off if everyone but Germany had been pacifists? Germany did very little damage to countries it occupied - Belgium, Holland, Norway, etc, so the death toll would likely have been infinitely lower for starters.

Things aren't always as clear-cut as we assume. Obviously, playing with history is purely theoretical, but I think it's reasonable to accept that other than [possibly/probably] Jews, Poles, Gypsies and black people, the death toll would have been nowhere the number it was had there been no war through pacifism on the Allied side.


On the other hand, military defense has proven more or less a successful strategy.

I disagree. It has at best a 50% chance of succeeding, since wars have a victor and a vanquished. In fact, I'm sure you know the expression "Pyrrhic victory", where even the victor is a loser, so 50% is actually generous.

.Kafka
08-11-2010, 12:30 AM
The problem with that statement is, every one of those conflicts has a background that is nonreligious - so take the first few - Nazi Aggression wasn't really due to religion, but to hyper-nationalism, and a sense of genetic superiority, coupled with a failure of the West, and an easy scape goat to blame.

As for England, perhaps, though the separation between Churches had nothing to do with theology, in that it was a matter of an ugly wife's uncle holding the Pope hostage, thereby making the common annulment that would have happened impossible. As for the impending conflict - it also seemed to be a matter of cultural and socio-economic self determination. Even so though, that wasn't quite a "war" of religions.

It's really easy to blame religion, even for the so called "War on Terror" in the world right now. Then again, if you look at the problems, generally there is an underlayer of non-religious conflict, such as imperialism, foreign occupancy, and post-colonial globalization, to name a few.

European wars generally, if we look historically, had the religious tinge, but even that is vague. It is easy to blame the conflict between Irish and English persons on religion, but that is to ignore the fact that England was a colonial occupant on the island, and when people's identity and liberty are threatened, they will go to no end to defend themselves, and in the process, cling harder to that which they feel is under attack.

Just read Franz Fannon's work on the Algerian Independence - notably his essay on Muslim garb in Algeria to get the idea.

An extremely well articulated argument.

Leland Gaunt
08-11-2010, 12:37 AM
An extremely well articulated argument.
Yes, but this is just rehashing old ground. All that was addressed within the first 2-3 posts of this thread.

OrphanPip
08-11-2010, 12:39 AM
I disagree. It has at best a 50% chance of succeeding, since wars have a victor and a vanquished. In fact, I'm sure you know the expression "Pyrrhic victory", where even the victor is a loser, so 50% is actually generous.

I tend to approach this from a geopolitical standpoint where I view states as vying for power. If you lose a war through pacifism, people's lives may be saved, but this makes no sense from a position of statecraft. States fight to survive, tooth and nail, to the death, it's a trend that I would struggle to find a counterexample to.

If you surrender, you save lives, but the state ceases to be, then the state has a 100% chance of losing. Military defense is a more sound strategy, at the state level, under any circumstance.

Also, since it was mentioned earlier about the good religion does in the world. I agree they do plenty of fine charity work, I'm just bothered by how we often allow religious charities to undermine other necessary charity work. Since JBI is Canadian, just look at the Harper government's recent movement to move funding away from charities that provide abortions for women in the third world to more religiously based charities, this is not a good thing. Likewise, the Catholic church continues to endorse the criminilization of homosexuality in Africa, in the case of Uganda the Arch-Bishop endorsed the death penalty until this drew negative press and the Vatican made him tone back to endorsing merely a life imprisonment. Then there's Mormon missionaries subverting AIDS charities by buying condoms off of people. Religion has the power to organize people, and organizing people has the power to do a lot of good and a lot of bad.

.Kafka
08-11-2010, 12:45 AM
Yes, true, mankind isn't needed either, nor is cancer, or grape juice. I'm not needed either, and I suspect the same of you. That really isn't a convincing argument - very little is "needed."

As it is, religion does quite a lot of good in the world - there is no denying it - the charity of religious institutions and their functions in fostering community amongst people is to be commended. I am not a believer, but I can still appreciate the cultural benefits of a religious tradition.

My family is Jewish, but I, as a non-believer, still see the qualities in the traditions and history I come from, and the good sense of community it creates. I can go into a synagogue across the world and feel welcomed - that isn't something small - it is a part of identity - can it be lived without? Perhaps, we can live without Chinese food too, but Chinese food is a respectable art form and is worth saving and enjoying.

Haha. Agreed. I suppose it was not the best form to express my notions on religion, eschatology, and ontology; all of which are interwoven even in their independent use of disciplinary terminology. I was attempting to be rhetorical and draw attention to the nature of religion not as a need but as a system constituent of faith. Religion is not a business, its purpose is not to serve us, but for us to serve 'it'. Humans need food, we need water and shelter but we do not need religion per say. 'Religion' will not give us these things, that is an abstract hope that religious hierarchies feed the uncultivated and which is championed by the bourgeoisie. Religion has nothing to do with humanities need for 'it'.

For example, Islam by definition means 'submission'. Religion, in my interpretation, is about giving and not needing, and it is in this understanding that I think religion is in opposition to the concept of need. As such I maintain my statement, 'Religion is not needed'.

JuniperWoolf
08-11-2010, 02:31 AM
Religion is not needed for anything. Not for war. Not for life. Not for discipline. Religion is not needed.

I think that what religion really comes down to is fear of death. It's no coincidence that older people have a higher tendency to be religious, it's not as though atheism is a new idea that has only recently been adopted by the young (although it is true that the relative social acceptance of atheism has only happened fairly recently). I think that old and sick people really do "need" to have that hope that their existence is not going to end, because they're understandably scared. I'm not talking about organized religion here (the little origin stories, the sacred crackers, whatever), I'm talking about religion in the context of having hope that there's something after death. That kind of spirituality is needed.

mazHur
08-11-2010, 04:12 AM
Haha. Agreed. I suppose it was not the best form to express my notions on religion, eschatology, and ontology; all of which are interwoven even in their independent use of disciplinary terminology. I was attempting to be rhetorical and draw attention to the nature of religion not as a need but as a system constituent of faith. Religion is not a business, its purpose is not to serve us, but for us to serve 'it'. Humans need food, we need water and shelter but we do not need religion per say. 'Religion' will not give us these things, that is an abstract hope that religious hierarchies feed the uncultivated and which is championed by the bourgeoisie. Religion has nothing to do with humanities need for 'it'.

For example, Islam by definition means 'submission'. Religion, in my interpretation, is about giving and not needing, and it is in this understanding that I think religion is in opposition to the concept of need. As such I maintain my statement, 'Religion is not needed'.


Religion is the motivational force behind feeding the hungry and helping the needy in distress. At least In India and Pakistan more welfare work is done by 'religious elements' than anyone else, more than what govts can do. If there was no religion the millions affected by the ongoing floods would have simply perished. It is the religious groups which are the first ones to rush to their help, the same they did during the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.
Religion is a code of life, if it teaches one. Without standard morals and ethics of universal acceptance there is little to expect from humans in sympathy or empathy for other humans...

Islam is 'submission' but only to the Will of Allah. Islam condemns 'submission' to the will of any human...so here lies the difference.

Scheherazade
08-11-2010, 05:08 AM
From OP:
I think that there are nearly always, other motives that are the main reason for going to war. Ambition, greed, resource competition etc...
A world without religion is not a world without war, just a world with honest war.Please note that discussion of current politics is NOT allowed on this Forum.

Posts containing references to current politics and off-topic comments will be removed without further notice.

The Atheist
08-11-2010, 03:52 PM
Also, since it was mentioned earlier about the good religion does in the world. I agree they do plenty of fine charity work, I'm just bothered by how we often allow religious charities to undermine other necessary charity work. Since JBI is Canadian, just look at the Harper government's recent movement to move funding away from charities that provide abortions for women in the third world to more religiously based charities, this is not a good thing. Likewise, the Catholic church continues to endorse the criminilization of homosexuality in Africa, in the case of Uganda the Arch-Bishop endorsed the death penalty until this drew negative press and the Vatican made him tone back to endorsing merely a life imprisonment. Then there's Mormon missionaries subverting AIDS charities by buying condoms off of people. Religion has the power to organize people, and organizing people has the power to do a lot of good and a lot of bad.

That's what bothers me about apologists for religion who cry "leave it alone". They turn a blind eye to the damaging aspects.


I'm not talking about organized religion here (the little origin stories, the sacred crackers, whatever), I'm talking about religion in the context of having hope that there's something after death. That kind of spirituality is needed.

Why?

Wouldn't it be better if people concentrated on this life?

Which segues nicely back to the OP.

Without the support of religions telling participants they will be received in heaven as payment for dying for their country, I'm sure fewer people would participate in wars.

It always amuses me that in most wars, the same god is allegedly telling people on both sides that they are in the right. Every unit has a chaplain.

Paulclem
08-11-2010, 05:56 PM
I think that what religion really comes down to is fear of death. It's no coincidence that older people have a higher tendency to be religious, it's not as though atheism is a new idea that has only recently been adopted by the young (although it is true that the relative social acceptance of atheism has only happened fairly recently). I think that old and sick people really do "need" to have that hope that their existence is not going to end, because they're understandably scared. I'm not talking about organized religion here (the little origin stories, the sacred crackers, whatever), I'm talking about religion in the context of having hope that there's something after death. That kind of spirituality is needed.

I think this is an oversimplification. Yes, you may well get people turning to religion for that reason , but there are plenty of other reasons. Religion is often referred to in scathing tones, and it may seem as if it is merely a crutch with which to withstand life. Again, some people need that. Yet religious people have often sought and chosen a path that impresses, or suits them - and I'm not talking about those who broadcast the need to find themselves.

The idea of service/charity is a very strong motivator and may have nothing to do with the organised aspects of religion. Small deeds of service/charity are done daily by virtually invisible people. We don't hear about this though because the motivation for such acts is not self aggrandizement, but purely service - adding something positive to daily life. I have seen this.

Many people also have a sense of otherness, which they may interpret as a sense of God or whatever. It's not some kind of exclusive club or anything like that, but may well prompt investigation or the adoption of a way of life according to a chosen creed.

Many others simply have a religious way of life passed to them from their family, and it is the most natural thing in the world for them to adhere to religious principles. This may well not be the case in many western democracies, but you see it in asian countries. We have a cynical sense here in the west, but if you meet Tibetans, for example, their Buddhist background permeates how they behave, (generally speaking) to others. It's the same in India. I dislike prejudice, inequality etc, but the same religious culture that keeps people within the same caste, also inspires them to be helpful and kind- generally speaking. (That was my experience of it in Mumbai. The most dismissive, unkind people were those generally in the posh hotels with obvious wealth).

BienvenuJDC
08-11-2010, 06:30 PM
I think this is an oversimplification. Yes, you may well get people turning to religion for that reason , but there are plenty of other reasons. Religion is often referred to in scathing tones, and it may seem as if it is merely a crutch with which to withstand life. Again, some people need that. Yet religious people have often sought and chosen a path that impresses, or suits them - and I'm not talking about those who broadcast the need to find themselves.

The idea of service/charity is a very strong motivator and may have nothing to do with the organised aspects of religion. Small deeds of service/charity are done daily by virtually invisible people. We don't hear about this though because the motivation for such acts is not self aggrandizement, but purely service - adding something positive to daily life. I have seen this.

Many people also have a sense of otherness, which they may interpret as a sense of God or whatever. It's not some kind of exclusive club or anything like that, but may well prompt investigation or the adoption of a way of life according to a chosen creed.

Many others simply have a religious way of life passed to them from their family, and it is the most natural thing in the world for them to adhere to religious principles. This may well not be the case in many western democracies, but you see it in asian countries. We have a cynical sense here in the west, but if you meet Tibetans, for example, their Buddhist background permeates how they behave, (generally speaking) to others. It's the same in India. I dislike prejudice, inequality etc, but the same religious culture that keeps people within the same caste, also inspires them to be helpful and kind- generally speaking. (That was my experience of it in Mumbai. The most dismissive, unkind people were those generally in the posh hotels with obvious wealth).

I agree with much of what you say. It seems that some who despise being judged by "religious people" are so quick to judge them too.

JuniperWoolf
08-12-2010, 04:30 PM
Why?

Wouldn't it be better if people concentrated on this life?

It's not possible to just concentrate on this life. Sooner or later, a loved one will die or you'll get sick or you'll get old, and then you start to think about what death means. It's a huge part of our psychological fabric.


The idea of service/charity is a very strong motivator and may have nothing to do with the organised aspects of religion.

Yeah, but you could argue that (some) people are charitable because the bible tells them that they have to be or they'll go to hell, so it still comes right back to death.


Many people also have a sense of otherness, which they may interpret as a sense of God or whatever.

I'd argue that it's wishful thinking. And why would anyone want to believe in a god? Because they don't want to die (or they don't want to be alone, that's a big part of religion too).


Many others simply have a religious way of life passed to them from their family, and it is the most natural thing in the world for them to adhere to religious principles.

You're right, that's true. Some people are born into it, and on an individual level that's why they're religious. On a broader, more universal level I'm almost sure that religion has survived because of fear of death. It used to be because they were curious about things such as "how does the wind blow?" and "what's on the underside of the earth?" but science has answered those questions so it isn't really about curiosity anymore (even though some people still try to use god to answer questions that science hasn't been able to yet).

Sebas. Melmoth
08-12-2010, 05:22 PM
It's not possible to just concentrate on this life. Sooner or later, a loved one will die or you'll get sick or you'll get old, and then you start to think about what death means. It's a huge part of our psychological fabric.

Right. That's what I said on your 'existential crisis' thread.

OrphanPip
08-12-2010, 05:32 PM
Meh, it's not death that concerns me so much. Dying might be highly unpleasant, especially if it involves cancer or some other slow painful process. Death itself will likely just be nothingness, and you can't really worry too much about that, you won't be around to worry.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-12-2010, 05:39 PM
Obviously you've never seen a loved one die.

You can believe: death is an extremely ugly thing.

But if you live long enough, I daresay you'll find out for yourself.

OrphanPip
08-12-2010, 05:42 PM
Obviously you've never seen a loved one die.

You can believe: death is an extremely ugly thing.

But if you live long enough, I daresay you'll find out for yourself.

Yes, I've seen loved ones die, and the process of dying is an unpleasant thing, death is the release. However, what comes after isn't anything to be too worried about, you won't be around to suffer.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-12-2010, 05:48 PM
what comes after isn't anything to be too worried about

Wow!--you've been there and back then.

OrphanPip
08-12-2010, 05:52 PM
Wow!--you've been there and back then.

No, I'm just a firm believer that your mind is a physiological product, thus when your brain stops functioning, you no longer exist. Any other conclusion is merely a wishful fantasy.

The Atheist
08-12-2010, 06:39 PM
It's not possible to just concentrate on this life.

Rubbish. Of course it is - millions of people manage it, mainly because, like me, they believe it's the only chance we'll get.


Sooner or later, a loved one will die or you'll get sick or you'll get old, and then you start to think about what death means. It's a huge part of our psychological fabric.

I've had plenty of loved ones die and I've thought about what death means for 40 years. I haven't seen fit to change my mind so far and I strongly doubt I ever will.



Yeah, but you could argue that (some) people are charitable because the bible tells them that they have to be or they'll go to hell, so it still comes right back to death.

:lol:

That's exactly what I say. Building up brownie points because of an order by an omiscient being that runs the universe isn't altruism.

BienvenuJDC
08-12-2010, 07:15 PM
Then again...there are some people who are charitable because they love mankind. They learned to love their fellow man because they were taught love by a loving God. True, there are many unloving hypocrites in religion, but why can't we see those loving individuals who have humanity?

Paulclem
08-12-2010, 08:10 PM
It's not possible to just

Yeah, but you could argue that (some) people are charitable because the bible tells them that they have to be or they'll go to hell, so it still comes right back to death.

I'd argue that it's wishful thinking. And why would anyone want to believe in a god? Because they don't want to die (or they don't want to be alone, that's a big part of religion too).

You're right, that's true. Some people are born into it, and on an individual level that's why they're religious. On a broader, more universal level I'm almost sure that religion has survived because of fear of death. It used to be because they were curious about things such as "how does the wind blow?" and "what's on the underside of the earth?" but science has answered those questions so it isn't really about curiosity anymore (even though some people still try to use god to answer questions that science hasn't been able to yet).


Yeah, but you could argue that (some) people are charitable because the bible tells them that they have to be or they'll go to hell, so it still comes right back to death.

You could - but you are neglecting all the other religions too. The question is, can an uncharitable person be bludgeoned into charity? Probably not because the human mind has always rationalised itself into whatever it wants - like Scrooge. Charity is an inner motivator - probably prompted by witnessing floods fire etc or by a wish to do good for people. The loving feelings for family canbe extended to unknown others - the kindness of strangers for example.

I'd argue that it's wishful thinking. And why would anyone want to believe in a god? Because they don't want to die (or they don't want to be alone, that's a big part of religion too).

God may be an aspect of it, but not necesarily. Otherness may be labelled as wishful thinking by some, but it doesn't dent the feeling of it. I don't mean an encounter with God, or anything like that, but a pervasive sense that there's more to life. If you're looking for evidence - then there isn't any because it is a personal experience, and hard to convey, and anecdotal etc etc. It's why some people choose religion though.

On a broader, more universal level I'm almost sure that religion has survived because of fear of death.

Mortality is undoubtedly a strong motivator. i'm not talking of fire and brimstone warnings but the personal approach of your own mortality. When I got to my forties I realised - as we all do - that I had probably lived half of my life - if I'm lucky. That's a strong impression. yet I had chosen my religion before then; I chose it before these strong impressins took hold.

It used to be because they were curious about things such as "how does the wind blow?" and "what's on the underside of the earth?" but science has answered those questions so it isn't really about curiosity anymore (even though some people still try to use god to answer questions that science hasn't been able to

Science doesn't answer all my questions. I am interested in and respect science for the ease it has given me and my family, but nothing provides the whole bundle. Religion doesn't usually put food on the table, and science doesn't address the inner conundrums that a person might have. I've only got to look at the western model of the mind and research into consciousness. Buddhism, for example, helps me to understand my own mind and motivation through meditation that science cannot. Physical scans can look at the structure of the brain, but it doesn't say anything about my subjective experience - the thing that is very real to me.


No, I'm just a firm believer that your mind is a physiological product, thus when your brain stops functioning, you no longer exist. Any other conclusion is merely a wishful fantasy.

I was reading today of a reasoning for having a compassinate, helpful attitude in life according to The Buddha. It was said that if karma is a reality, then having this attitude is helpful in gaining a good rebirth. If there is nothing after death, then at least you'll have the regard of your fellows in this life. I like such pragmatism. :biggrin5:

The Atheist
08-12-2010, 10:02 PM
Then again...there are some people who are charitable because they love mankind. They learned to love their fellow man because they were taught love by a loving God.

I'm sure there are. I just tend to rate people more highly if they do it of their own accord.


True, there are many unloving hypocrites in religion, but why can't we see those loving individuals who have humanity?

I can see them. I didn't exclude them at all.

BienvenuJDC
08-12-2010, 10:17 PM
I'm sure there are. I just tend to rate people more highly if they do it of their own accord.


While you don't believe in God, I don't believe that people can know how to love "on their own accord." I guess we'll just have to disagree.

The Atheist
08-12-2010, 10:29 PM
While you don't believe in God, I don't believe that people can know how to love "on their own accord." I guess we'll just have to disagree.

It's not really a case of agree or disagree - there are millions of married atheists with kids who find love is an easy enough concept.

BienvenuJDC
08-12-2010, 10:40 PM
It's not really a case of agree or disagree - there are millions of married atheists with kids who find love is an easy enough concept.

Yes, you don't have to believe in God to have learned love from God. Love is a learned behavior. We learn it from watching other people. And God showed His love to all of mankind, thus by watching people around you, you are witness to God's love. Now you can choose to deny that is the case, but just because someone chooses not to believe something, doesn't make it untrue.

Of course, we can also learn to hate others from watching other people do that too. Therefore, we will just have to disagree about this one.

The Atheist
08-13-2010, 12:16 AM
Love is a learned behavior.

At least we agree on that part - just where it's learnt.

;)

mazHur
08-13-2010, 10:06 AM
At least we agree on that part - just where it's learnt.

;)

God is least bothered if someone believes Him or not; all that matters to God is His Creation and its deeds.

Haunted
08-13-2010, 12:22 PM
I'm sure there are. I just tend to rate people more highly if they do it of their own accord.


haha, this is cute. To favor non-religious over religious approaches makes me think of a child preferring jello in the shape of a rabbit to a bumble bee. If love means anything at all then the source should be irrelevant. It never ceases to amaze me how some atheists allow religion to dictate their value system and obviously how they live.



Love is a learned behavior.

Sorry I have to disagree with you guys. Love is spontaneous. So is hate. It's tolerance that is learned. Christianity reenforces the concept of love to extend to charities. But love is something we feel in our hearts. Another example, a mother's love, that's instinct. In primitive and isolated civilizations people lived, loved and died way before missionaries paid them a visit.


As far as religion and war goes, if we expand the scope of war to include the smaller wars as well, such as gang wars, there's no religion involved, it's bullying and sadism. Then there are wars among druglords. People kill each other for all kinds of reasons. A few years ago a son killed his mother over a pizza.

The Atheist
08-13-2010, 03:42 PM
haha, this is cute. To favor non-religious over religious approaches makes me think of a child preferring jello in the shape of a rabbit to a bumble bee. If love means anything at all then the source should be irrelevant. It never ceases to amaze me how some atheists allow religion to dictate their value system and obviously how they live.

Considering the comment referred to altruism, you've just made a category error.

I would add that religion plays no part in my life aside from talking about it, so the assertion would be absurd even if you'd got the quote right.

dafydd manton
08-13-2010, 04:00 PM
Whilst appreciating that love is the very antithesis of war, I would suggest, as a believer, that the concept of love being the prerogative only of those who do believe is not only dangerous, but arrogant in the extreme. It implies that I, before I knew the first thing about Scripture, was incapable of love, yet now I am. That is almost insulting, especially as a parent. And as a son, since my Dad and I have always had the greatest of relationships, including the 40-odd years of non-belief.

NikolaiI
08-13-2010, 10:03 PM
As far as religion and war goes, if we expand the scope of war to include the smaller wars as well, such as gang wars, there's no religion involved, it's bullying and sadism. Then there are wars among druglords. People kill each other for all kinds of reasons. A few years ago a son killed his mother over a pizza.

This is a very good point.

Haunted
08-14-2010, 02:11 AM
Considering the comment referred to altruism, you've just made a category error.

my bad. Let me try again:

haha, this is cute. To favor non-religious over religious approaches makes me think of a child preferring jello in the shape of a rabbit to a bumble bee. If altruism means something good then the source should be irrelevant. It never ceases to amaze me how some atheists allow religion to dictate their value system and obviously how they live.

The point is, it makes no difference whether it's love, altruism, heroism, intestinal fortitude, as long as your position is based on one's belief.




I would add that religion plays no part in my life aside from talking about it, so the assertion would be absurd even if you'd got the quote right.

sure it does, the fact that you downgrade people based on their religion, then religion determines your values and decisions, and how you live your life based on these decisions.



And the statement itself...


I just tend to rate people more highly if they do it of their own accord.

[than those who learned to love their fellow man because they were taught love by a loving God]

...is bigotry. I don't know about other countries, but in the United States we have laws to prevent this kind of discriminatory behavior against people who hold religious beliefs. Ahh. God bless America.

The Atheist
08-14-2010, 05:05 AM
my bad. Let me try again:

I can't imagine why - you're still wrong. It's irrational reasoning rather than religion. It wouldn't matter whether it's religion, astrology, or the Cottingley Fairies.



...is bigotry. I don't know about other countries, but in the United States we have laws to prevent this kind of discriminatory behavior against people who hold religious beliefs. Ahh. God bless America.

Now you're being completely absurd.

There are laws to stop discriminatory actions, but there are no laws which prevent me from saying that religious people are: [/insert pejorative].

Which I'm sure you actually know, but ignore, since it doesn't fit your mistaken example.

dafydd manton
08-14-2010, 06:09 AM
Oy, don't tar us all with the same brush!! SOME, I couldn't agree more, but not all.

SleepyWitch
08-14-2010, 06:55 AM
I haven't read all of this thread, so maybe this has been said before.
Someone has said that it is "human nature" to attack other countries just to express aggression. :confused: Come on, even animals have more of a 'just' reason for attacking members of their own species, such as sexual rivalry, food etc. Even if we assume people have a reason for starting wars, "human nature" is just a really lame excuse. I do agree that aggression is part of "human nature" and we'll probably never get rid of it. Also, aggression doesn't need to be a bad thing depending on how it is expressed or channeled. E.g. you could explain ambition as an expression of aggression in that people try to be better than others or 'fight' for a goal they want to reach. So without this sort of 'aggression' there would be no progress or competition. On the other hand, I don't understand why "human nature" is always used in a defeatist way as a label for negative aspects of human behaviour and the positive things that humankind is capable of are never mentioned. So are you saying that whatever positive things we happen to achieve are an aberration and we should actually not do them because they are not "human nature"?
To me, "human nature" also encompasses rationality and the ability to overcome aggressive impulses. So those who think wars are the only solution to problems or think it is justified to wage wars in the name of their national "interests" (whether these be material or ideological interests) are deliberately falling short of fulfilling their human potential. Humans are endowed with the ability to make decisions and if they decide to start a war, that's "fair enough" (NO, I'M NOT ARGUING IN FAVOUR OF WARS), but they don't have any right to blame it on any mysterious outside force, such as "human nature" when it was clearly their decision.

Haunted
08-14-2010, 07:28 AM
Now you're being completely absurd.

There are laws to stop discriminatory actions, but there are no laws which prevent me from saying that religious people are: [/insert pejorative].


Excuse me, isn't that a personalized attack at me?

And isn't that a [pejorative] attack at religious people?



why are you so mad, is it because I/we are right?

NikolaiI
08-14-2010, 03:12 PM
I'm kind of reminded of Einstein's statement that one can either live life as though everything is a miracle, or as though nothing is - when I happen to see something the Atheist wrote.

The Atheist
08-14-2010, 03:24 PM
Oy, don't tar us all with the same brush!! SOME, I couldn't agree more, but not all.

Never all of them.

You've seen the man-love affair I'm having with Rowan Williams.

:blush2:

If only he'd shave. Scruffy bastard.


Excuse me, isn't that a personalized attack at me?

No. It's is clearly an example to show that your comment about USA's laws regarding speech and discrimination are two different things.

I hesitate to mention defensiveness, but it springs to mind when I make a clear hypothetical example that you choose to see as a personal attack.


And isn't that a [pejorative] attack at religious people?

No.

See above. It's neither an attack on you, or religious people.

And enough of the nonsense, there's an actual On Topic post been made!

Adminster as needed: :chillpill:


I haven't read all of this thread, so maybe this has been said before.
Someone has said that it is "human nature" to attack other countries just to express aggression. :confused: Come one, even animals have more of a 'just' reason for attacking members of their own species, such as sexual rivalry, food etc. Even if we assume people have a reason for starting wars, "human nature" is just a really lame excuse.

Can we just sum that up and say "competition"?

If we actually look at the animal kingdom, and even the plants for that matter - every living thing has evolved to be competitive. A big part of competing for resources is removing other plants & animals that use the same resources you do, so a large part of your evolutionary selection will swing towards the ability to physically beat off competition.

From creeper vines to lions, the ability to suffocate or dominate your competition is an innate trait. I think aggression


Humans are endowed with the ability to make decisions and if they decide to start a war, that's "fair enough" (NO, I'M NOT ARGUING IN FAVOUR OF WARS), but they don't have any right to blame it on any mysterious outside force, such as "human nature" when it was clearly their decision.

Well put.

I'd be first to agree that inability to outgrow our genetic imperatives is the biggest problem for humans - hell of a lot bigger than religion!

:D

Virgil
08-14-2010, 04:16 PM
Somehow I missed Juniperís reply to me.

His whole point was that the instances of pacifism having been attempted are few. There are two grand examples of it having been attempted and greatly succeeding. Can you give any examples of it having been attempted on a grand scale and failing? If not then there's no proof that pacifism is doomed to failure. You see, because if it hasn't even been tried, then how do you know that it won't work?
There are not two grand examples. As I point out in my response to Atheist, which Iíll copy below, those are not two ďgrandĒ examples, b ut flawed examples. Both had violent other parties working in parallel for an over all effort. Plus those two examples are intra-national issues, not international wars. The only pure example of a entity stopping another national entity through a pacifist appeal was Pope Leo stopping Atilla and the Huns in the fifth century. If you know another, please let me know; I would be interested.
Hereís my response to Atheist:

Well, first of all MLK civil rights accomplishments were not an international war, so i don't even see what that has to do with the discussion. It was an intra-national issue. Second, you're pulling the pacificism out of context. Sure MLK was a pacifist who pushed civil rights laws in a non-violent manner. But in parallel there were lots of riots and violent outburts that went on for close to a century. All that contributed to the ultimate decisions to extend civil rights to african-americans. To simply say that MLK was solely responsible for changing the civil rights laws in the US is to again simplify to the point of fallacy. It's again a pop culture look at the issue. I can't speak with confidence to Ghandi's accomplishments, but again that has an element of an intra-national issue (though admittedly complicated because of colonialism) and he too was not working in an isolated vacuum. I believe there were lots of violent events in parallel with his non-violent approach. I don't see how one strips away the overall context.

As to not being tried, well, there have been lots of cultures that have not resisted with varying degrees of success. I would say there are two possibilities. Orphan-Pip mentions the slaughter of Hutus at the hands of the Tutsis.


The assassination of Habyarimana in April 1994 was the proximate cause of the mass killings of Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus. The mass killings were carried out primarily by two Hutu militias associated with political parties: the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi. The genocide was directed by a Hutu power group known as the Akazu. The mass killing also marked the end of the peace agreement meant to end the war, and the Tutsi RPF restarted their offensive, eventually defeating the army and seizing control of the country.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide

Notice that the "pro-peace Hutus" were also slaughtered. There have been such mass slaughters of defenseless people throughout history.

The other possibility is that the conquering entity just absorbed the lesser cultures. Rome didnít physically overcome all the Gaulic tribes in first century BC Gaul. It absorbed them and instituted their Roman rule and taxes and dominion. If you donít wish to fight without humbling your honor, then one can just become sucked in. Mind you there was no a Gaulic in what is now France culture within a hundred years of their defeat.

Who's "we?"
Essentially NATO, but the US bore the largest burden.



I haven't read all of this thread, so maybe this has been said before.
Someone has said that it is "human nature" to attack other countries just to express aggression. :confused: Come one, even animals have more of a 'just' reason for attacking members of their own species, such as sexual rivalry, food etc. Even if we assume people have a reason for starting wars, "human nature" is just a really lame excuse. I do agree that aggression is part of "human nature" and we'll probably never get rid of it. Also, aggression doesn't need to be a bad thing depending on how it is expressed or channeled. E.g. you could explain ambition as an expression of aggression in that people try to be better than others or 'fight' for a goal they want to reach. So without this sort of 'aggression' there would be no progress or competition. On the other hand, I don't understand why "human nature" is always used in a defeatist way as a label for negative aspects of human behaviour and the positive things that humankind is capable of are never mentioned. So are you saying that whatever positive things we happen to achieve are an aberration and we should actually not do them because they are not "human nature"?
To me, "human nature" also encompasses rationality and the ability to overcome aggressive impulses. So those who think wars are the only solution to problems or think it is justified to wage wars in the name of their national "interests" (whether these be material or ideological interests) are deliberately falling short of fulfilling their human potential. Humans are endowed with the ability to make decisions and if they decide to start a war, that's "fair enough" (NO, I'M NOT ARGUING IN FAVOUR OF WARS), but they don't have any right to blame it on any mysterious outside force, such as "human nature" when it was clearly their decision.

I assume youíre referring to me. You assume that the rational choice that cultures make is to overcome their aggression. All choices are rational choices given the perspectives of the people making them. Because you donít make the calculation that war is warranted doesnít mean that other people see it the same. Otherwise there are no wars. War has been a part of human dynamics since the beginning of time. I listed this in several responses:

Did pacifism prevent ancient Roman conquest across Europe or Persia across asia or Chinese expansion and conquest across half of asia or Islamic conquest across north africa and western asia or germanic-viking conquest across northern Europe or slavic conquest across Russia and eastern Europe or or the Spanish conquistadors in the Americas or Napolean or Hitler or the Japanese raping of mainland China? The list goes on and on. Think of all the millions if not billions of people dead throughout history from aggression. There is little evidence that pacifism works, and I'm a Christian who believes in Christ's words.


Yes, there were lots of pacifist in this events. Many of the Indian cultures over taken by the conquistodores were relatively non-violent. Check out how the Viklings singled out monestaries because of their lack of will to fight. Or what about the Jews under the nazis. But to claim the roman Empire or seventh century Islamic jihad, or napoleon or Japanese conquest of China would have been halted from pacifism is - what can I say - laughable.


Should I continue and mention English, French, Belgium, Portugese, German, Italian colonialism? Or the Vedic empires or Alexander the Great or the Babylonian conquests, the Aztec empire, the list goes on and on across time and geography. Human nature is human nature. There has never been a 25 year period where there wasn't a major war somewhere on the planet. Even the Pax Romana is a fallacy. There was plenty of warfare during the 200 years.

Sleepy, if you can mention a twenty five year period on this planet where there hasnít been a major war or conquest, I would love to know. Otherwise one has to conclude that humanity is prone to war and violence.

Paulclem
08-14-2010, 04:26 PM
You've seen the man-love affair I'm having with Rowan Williams.

If only he'd shave. Scruffy bastard. The Atheist


:lol:

SleepyWitch
08-15-2010, 06:13 AM
I assume you’re referring to me. You assume that the rational choice that cultures make is to overcome their aggression. All choices are rational choices given the perspectives of the people making them. Because you don’t make the calculation that war is warranted doesn’t mean that other people see it the same. Otherwise there are no wars. War has been a part of human dynamics since the beginning of time.

You are right about that. I meant 'rational' in a more moral sense, not so much as in 'an effective means of achieving a particular aim.' I'm not trying to say that this is 'objective' or anything. My argument is clearly based on my personal opinion that wars are 'bad'. But neither is the idea that one country has the right to attack another to pursue its 'interests' objective. It's based on the idea that their interests are more important than another country's, i.e. selfishness. All I'm saying is that this is an ongoing discourse and we can't let warmongers get away with it and give them the right to define what is 'rational' and what is 'human nature'. Basically, by telling us that waging war is 'human nature' they are telling us that we are not 'human' if we disagree with them and that's just a really cheap trick. Most of the time when people start wars over resources, it's just the seemingly easiest solution to the problem. E.g. they could trade some resource they've got for one that they want (but they think it's too expensive), or they could invent some technology that allows them to use this resource more efficiently or do without it, or maybe they don't even need it at all. By the way, I'm not only talking about oil. I'm sure people have started wars for 'sillier' reasons, e.g. arable land, diamonds, luxuries that no country really needs to survive. E.g. Hitler's Lebensraum theory was bollocks because the population of Germany was a lot smaller back then than it is now and yet Germany is one of the most developed countries in the world now. That's because they use the land more efficiently now than they did back then, so they don't need more land. So in a way you are right: countries do attack each other just to wave their d***s at each other. But why should we let them get away with it? Why should a government have the right to decide that the death of its own soldiers (and possibly civilians) is a price worth paying to gain some resources or whatever? Should it not also be in the 'interest' of a state to preserve the life of its citizens? Of course, they will argue that their soldiers sacrificed their life for a 'greater good'. But do humans have the wisdom to decide what constitutes a greater good? By the way, I'm not only talking about governments. I'm also talking about terrorists who think it's justified to kill civilians. If it was really about feeling oppressed or something because they feel others don't respect or understand their religion/ ideology/ whatever, what they should do is seek dialogue and educate others about their views. So please don't think I'm only talking about governments or one government in particular. (You know what I mean).
About nonviolent resistance, I kind of agree with both you and the Atheist. I think the Atheist is right to point out that the reason it hasn't worked very often is because it wasn't even tried. But I agree with you that it would be more difficult and take longer than armed resistance. I suppose it all depends on the circumstances and how much you get involved in the fate of others. E.g. I think in the Roman empire, the conquered countries were allowed to retain their culture and language, so it wasn't that bad for them. So many leaders preferred to be assimilated and become part of the Roman elite. Whereas during the Third Reich, it might have been possible to just sit back and enjoy life, too. But then there was genocide going on and some people did not feel it was right to stand by as Hitler killed millions of Jews and other ethnic groups. Also, people had reason to fear that he would not allow them to retain their cultural identity in the long term, because he obviously believed in German supremacy. So it must have been clear to them that in the long term he would find some way to make racial distinctions even between white people from different countries and would persecute them. So under these circumstances I'm not sure passive resistance would have been a good idea.

Anyway, I totally agree with you that it would be utopian to assume that the majority of mankind can be convinced in the short term that wars are unnecessary just by talking and philosophy. So I suppose as long as we don't have 100% economic interdependence, some sort of (minimal) nuclear deterrence is the best solution for the moment. That's the only argument that will persuade some people that wars aren't a good idea. It's only when countries start an arms race and build up enough weapons to kill each other several times over that it becomes silly and a waste of money.

Edit to add:: You are right that there have been more periods of war than peace and it does seem that humanity is prone to war. But part of the reason we get this impression is that wars receive more attention and we study them more because they are more dramatic and thus more interesting. Peace is relatively boring. So we haven't always made enough of an effort to study the factors that can contribute to peace and help avoid wars. Peace Studies as an academic discipline has only emerged relatively recently.
Returning to 'human nature': You don't go around town raping random women or stealing other people's food just because it's in your 'human nature' to do so, do you? And the reason you don't do it is that there are moral laws and laws made by the state against it. So you would feel it's immoral or you would be punished by the state if you did it, right? So what I'm saying is we could have the same kind of moral laws or laws in a narrower sense against war, if we wanted to. But I agree that any organization put in charge of enforcing such laws would have to have more economic or military clout (as in deterrence) than existing organizations do.
I'd be glad to discuss any ideas for PREVENTING war that you might have. I know that you think it's 'human nature', but then you'd be hard pressed to argue why one country or group has the right to wage war while another doesn't.

papayahed
08-15-2010, 08:25 AM
Note that off-topic and/or personal/inflammatory posts will be removed without further notice.

Those who have any personal differences with other member(s) should deal with them via PMs.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-15-2010, 05:56 PM
War is nothing but mass wastage for the majority, with insanely large profits for the handful.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Trillion-Dollar-War-Conflict/dp/0393334171/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281909347&sr=1-1

dafydd manton
08-15-2010, 06:14 PM
War is nothing but mass wastage for the majority, with insanely large profits for the handful.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Trillion-Dollar-War-Conflict/dp/0393334171/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281909347&sr=1-1

Spot On!

Sebas. Melmoth
08-15-2010, 06:24 PM
Add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion.

Virgil
08-15-2010, 08:42 PM
You are right about that. I meant 'rational' in a more moral sense, not so much as in 'an effective means of achieving a particular aim.' I'm not trying to say that this is 'objective' or anything. My argument is clearly based on my personal opinion that wars are 'bad'.
Of course wars are bad. I don't think you'll find anyone disputing that.My point on "rationality" is that whoever decides to be an aggressor makes a rational decision, and those that defend themselves, either through pacifism or war make a rational decision. I think we agree on this.


But neither is the idea that one country has the right to attack another to pursue its 'interests' objective. It's based on the idea that their interests are more important than another country's, i.e. selfishness. All I'm saying is that this is an ongoing discourse and we can't let warmongers get away with it and give them the right to define what is 'rational' and what is 'human nature'.
I wasn't letting people justify war in anyway as an appeal to human nature. I was stating what i believe is a fact. People were arguing that war is caused by religion. Well, that's hokey. They are wars that happen from religion and wars that don't and if you look at history from a long view you (or at least I do) humanity finds reasons for wars. The cost of war usually outweighs any gains. You can't blame it on any particular reason but that group dynamics create an atmosphere where war seems like the rational choice, and it happens over and over again. I'm not saying it's human nature like sex is human nature, but it's part of us.


Basically, by telling us that waging war is 'human nature' they are telling us that we are not 'human' if we disagree with them and that's just a really cheap trick.
No, it's a group dynamics phenomena, in my opinion. you're envisioning "human nature" to be like sex or eating or things inside an individual. There are phenomena that occur as a result of group interactions, both as a bonding within a group and as an exclusionary view of other groups. The us versus the other. It's easy to understand the other as a phenomena. What is particularly interesting is the us phenomena, especially how group dynamics come to conclusions and modes of action. Most of the time it does not amount to anything violent. On occaision, I assume if the conditions are right, it does.


Most of the time when people start wars over resources, it's just the seemingly easiest solution to the problem.
Frankly I don't believe that's true. The cost of war far outweighs the gains, and that goes for ancient times as well, unless the conquored is percieved to be particularly weak. Most wars in my opinion have to do with group identity on the "us" side and "them" identity on the other side.


Why should a government have the right to decide that the death of its own soldiers (and possibly civilians) is a price worth paying to gain some resources or whatever?
Government is made up of the people, even in a dicatorship. For the most part, no one goes to war thinking they will die for some silly cause. They for the most part (and allowing for the dissenter of course) are on board with the action.


Should it not also be in the 'interest' of a state to preserve the life of its citizens? Of course, they will argue that their soldiers sacrificed their life for a 'greater good'. But do humans have the wisdom to decide what constitutes a greater good?
Of course. Even in the 5000 year history of humanity, at all times the majority of people did not go to war. Even though war occurs in all ages, the rational choice of the majoirity of people is not to go to war. But that's because the situation hasn't aligned itself for the group dynamics to choose such a thing. In murder, detectives say there are opportunity and motive. Let's use that as analogy. You need multiple events to align for the situation to bring out what I'm calling as a group dynamic of human nature. Maybe it's more than two things for war, and so war for any particular culture might go through a long time before occuring. But when you look across all the cultures across the world, someone will have those things align.


By the way, I'm not only talking about governments. I'm also talking about terrorists who think it's justified to kill civilians. If it was really about feeling oppressed or something because they feel others don't respect or understand their religion/ ideology/ whatever, what they should do is seek dialogue and educate others about their views. So please don't think I'm only talking about governments or one government in particular. (You know what I mean).
Ok. I agree, it's not just governments.


About nonviolent resistance, I kind of agree with both you and the Atheist. I think the Atheist is right to point out that the reason it hasn't worked very often is because it wasn't even tried. But I agree with you that it would be more difficult and take longer than armed resistance.
It hasn't been tried because there have been too many instances of people becoming chop meat. I gave the example of Rwanda above. You as a German ought to know what happen to the Jews in 1930's and 40's. Part of the response to aggression requires also a group dynamic decision. As the group tries to make a decision on how to respond - pacifist resistence or fight back - it's very hard for a group to decide that it's better to turn the other cheek when some member of their group has been humiliated or killed. The risk of being wrong by choosing to not fight back can be catastrophic (as the Jews found out), and so a group will more than likely fight back. And I can't blame them.



I suppose it all depends on the circumstances and how much you get involved in the fate of others. E.g. I think in the Roman empire, the conquered countries were allowed to retain their culture and language, so it wasn't that bad for them.
Some yes, some no. But nonetheless they were under their laws and taxation.


So many leaders preferred to be assimilated and become part of the Roman elite. Whereas during the Third Reich, it might have been possible to just sit back and enjoy life, too. But then there was genocide going on and some people did not feel it was right to stand by as Hitler killed millions of Jews and other ethnic groups. Also, people had reason to fear that he would not allow them to retain their cultural identity in the long term, because he obviously believed in German supremacy. So it must have been clear to them that in the long term he would find some way to make racial distinctions even between white people from different countries and would persecute them. So under these circumstances I'm not sure passive resistance would have been a good idea.
You can see exactly what I'm talking about in group decision making.


Anyway, I totally agree with you that it would be utopian to assume that the majority of mankind can be convinced in the short term that wars are unnecessary just by talking and philosophy. So I suppose as long as we don't have 100% economic interdependence, some sort of (minimal) nuclear deterrence is the best solution for the moment. That's the only argument that will persuade some people that wars aren't a good idea. It's only when countries start an arms race and build up enough weapons to kill each other several times over that it becomes silly and a waste of money.
Hey I agree. Economic interdependence is the key. I also think deterence is the key as well. If some nation thinks you are an easy target, they may make the calculation that war is cost effective.


Edit to add:: You are right that there have been more periods of war than peace and it does seem that humanity is prone to war. But part of the reason we get this impression is that wars receive more attention and we study them more because they are more dramatic and thus more interesting. Peace is relatively boring.
I think we study war in history because it's usually a turning point in national circumstances. It's not that peace is boring, but that war has created a dividing line.


So we haven't always made enough of an effort to study the factors that can contribute to peace and help avoid wars. Peace Studies as an academic discipline has only emerged relatively recently.
I do think people have. There are books on it.


Returning to 'human nature': You don't go around town raping random women or stealing other people's food just because it's in your 'human nature' to do so, do you?
:lol: I would hope not.


And the reason you don't do it is that there are moral laws and laws made by the state against it. So you would feel it's immoral or you would be punished by the state if you did it, right?
I think it's more complicvated than that, but ok I'll accept that.


So what I'm saying is we could have the same kind of moral laws or laws in a narrower sense against war, if we wanted to. But I agree that any organization put in charge of enforcing such laws would have to have more economic or military clout (as in deterrence) than existing organizations do.
I'd be glad to discuss any ideas for PREVENTING war that you might have. I know that you think it's 'human nature', but then you'd be hard pressed to argue why one country or group has the right to wage war while another doesn't.
But then you're getting back to where people go to war. The deterring entity would have to occaisionally fight the ones that got out of line. That's still war.

I believe we can create conditions where group dynamics make the prevelant choice to not go to war. How many times did France and Germany prior to WWII go to war? Napoleonic wars, 1870, WWI, WWII - that's four that I count in about 150 years. Can you envision today France and Germany going to war? I can't. We have created conditions (economic interdependence, deterence) that such a choice is completely unrational. That's what needs to be done across the world. My problem in this thread has been the thinking that pacifism is what prevents war or solves problems of aggression. The instances that pacifism has worked across time is rare. It's not pacifism that prevents war. That only makes the opponent to an aggressor appear vulnerable and may actually insentivize him to attack.

SleepyWitch
08-16-2010, 03:28 AM
Interesting point about group dynamics. Thanks for explaining it. I understand your argument a lot better now.

Yep, the costs of war outweigh the gains. That's why I said "the seemingly easiest solution.

I agree, that religions do not cause wars but are used as a justification. Hahah, I'll probably be expelled from the atheists' club for that :)





But then you're getting back to where people go to war. The deterring entity would have to occaisionally fight the ones that got out of line. That's still war.

I'm aware of that. It's not ideal, but I suppose it's the best we can get.



I believe we can create conditions where group dynamics make the prevelant choice to not go to war. How many times did France and Germany prior to WWII go to war? Napoleonic wars, 1870, WWI, WWII - that's four that I count in about 150 years. Can you envision today France and Germany going to war? I can't. We have created conditions (economic interdependence, deterence) that such a choice is completely unrational. That's what needs to be done across the world. My problem in this thread has been the thinking that pacifism is what prevents war or solves problems of aggression. The instances that pacifism has worked across time is rare. It's not pacifism that prevents war. That only makes the opponent to an aggressor appear vulnerable and may actually insentivize him to attack.
I do believe that if a majority of those involved in decision-making (i.e. politicians and their advisers) were pacifists it would work, but I don't think you find many pacifists in such positions. Of course, it would also work if everyone was a hippie and smoked dope and sr*wed around all day, because then they'd be too busy to go to war. :) But even most hippies got tired of that and smoking dope etc. never did much for putting food on people's tables. :) Or maybe some of them change their mind once they are faced with having to defend their country. Let's assume we have a few hundred years of economic interdependence and peace. Do you think humans would just forget about wars then and wouldn't be bothered to attack others anymore even if the economic circumstances changed slightly or if deterrence was toned down? Or would old group dynamics/ human nature kick in as soon as the deterring entity gave them some slack or economic interdependence decreased? (This is a genuine question.)


(P.S.: I don't think the Jews in WW2 are a good example of non-violent resistance. I don't think they made a group decision to use passive resistance. I think they were just confused and also we can't see them as a monolithic group. There were relatively recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and then there were successful middle class people who had lived in Germany for a long time. These people had always been German citizens and done their bit for the country, so it took them a long time to realize that Hitler meant action. There was no organized movement like Ghandi's. ... Hum, I might have got that wrong, so lets not argue too much about it.)

The Atheist
08-16-2010, 03:07 PM
I agree, that religions do not cause wars but are used as a justification. Hahah, I'll probably be expelled from the atheists' club for that :)

Nah, you're safe. Aside from a couple, I agree with you, and I make the damned rules.

:D


Let's assume we have a few hundred years of economic interdependence and peace. Do you think humans would just forget about wars then and wouldn't be bothered to attack others anymore even if the economic circumstances changed slightly or if deterrence was toned down? Or would old group dynamics/ human nature kick in as soon as the deterring entity gave them some slack or economic interdependence decreased? (This is a genuine question.)

And I'll give you a genuine answer:

Without strong reasons for controlling nationalism and national agression, they will re-surface. That community violence will always be there, ready to be exploited.

The violence in Greece's riots recently were just an aperitif of what can happen in no time.

The Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/etc cluster** is a great example of how it can happen. The various groups in that conflict had been under an enforced "peace" for at least a couple of generations. As soon as the lid was taken off with Tito's death, whoof! Up she goes in flames.

People hate a lot.



(P.S.: I don't think the Jews in WW2 are a good example of non-violent resistance. I don't think they made a group decision to use passive resistance. I think they were just confused and also we can't see them as a monolithic group. There were relatively recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and then there were successful middle class people who had lived in Germany for a long time. These people had always been German citizens and done their bit for the country, so it took them a long time to realize that Hitler meant action. There was no organized movement like Ghandi's. ... Hum, I might have got that wrong, so lets not argue too much about it.)

No, you might have got it dead right!

WWII Jews/The Holocaust is not an example of pacificism.

Virgil
08-16-2010, 07:36 PM
I agree, that religions do not cause wars but are used as a justification. Hahah, I'll probably be expelled from the atheists' club for that :)

Well, you might what to ponder on this as well: Of the three instances of successful pacifism sited within the thread all three were led by religious figures. Martin Luther King was a Protestant minister, Ghandi was a Hindu spiritual leader (not sure if he had a title), and Pope Leo was of course the head of the Catholic Church.


I do believe that if a majority of those involved in decision-making (i.e. politicians and their advisers) were pacifists it would work,
How would you guarrentee that for all of eternity?


but I don't think you find many pacifists in such positions. Of course, it would also work if everyone was a hippie and smoked dope and sr*wed around all day, because then they'd be too busy to go to war. :)
Yeah and the general population would be in poverty. :wink5:


Let's assume we have a few hundred years of economic interdependence and peace. Do you think humans would just forget about wars then and wouldn't be bothered to attack others anymore even if the economic circumstances changed slightly or if deterrence was toned down? Or would old group dynamics/ human nature kick in as soon as the deterring entity gave them some slack or economic interdependence decreased? (This is a genuine question.)
I think thinking that we can ever eliminate war is a utopian delusion. My biggest fear is that people will be lulled into a false sense of security. Returning to that France/German example I gave. I meant to say that a war between the two was unlikely in the foreseeable future. I am not God. I cannot see the varying circumstances that will arise, but I can tell you that circumstances will change. It is not beyond the realm of possibilty that a war between the two may happen in a hundred years from now. How and why, I don't know. Conditions will realter. History seems to show that. And if you think that national borders mean something, forget that too. Every culture has sub cultures. Hutus and Tutsies came from the same country. Hatred from one regional group for another in the same country exists every where, especially in large entities. Any large set of population will divide itself into groups. Heck, New York City is filled with dozens of sub groups. There will always be an "us" and "them". That is absolutely human nature.


(P.S.: I don't think the Jews in WW2 are a good example of non-violent resistance. I don't think they made a group decision to use passive resistance. I think they were just confused and also we can't see them as a monolithic group. There were relatively recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and then there were successful middle class people who had lived in Germany for a long time. These people had always been German citizens and done their bit for the country, so it took them a long time to realize that Hitler meant action. There was no organized movement like Ghandi's. ... Hum, I might have got that wrong, so lets not argue too much about it.)
They didn't resist. They were aware of the hatred and had many examples of the violence let upon them. There may have not been a coordinated pacifist resistence, but would that have mattered? I forget which holocaust survivor said this, but it has stuck with me for years. Maybe it was Ellie Weissel, I don't know. When asked what lessen from the holocaust one should take back, he said that when someone tells you they intend to kill you, believe them. He felt that most Jews did not believe the rhetoric and the spoken intentions of those who perpetrated the holocaust. It just seemed so unlikely that they really meant it. And so they didn't put up a real resistence. When someone tells you they intend to kill you, believe them. And given that, how can pacifism ever win out in a group dynamic decision making process? I certainly wouldn't buy into it.

The Atheist
08-17-2010, 12:03 AM
Yeah and the general population would be in poverty. :wink5:

How stereotypical and wrong would you like to be on that one?

Carl Sagan, Michael Bloomberg, Paul McCartney & Bob Marley. That's just a starting quartet. Have you achieved as much as any of them? Or have anywhere near as much money as they do/did?

Please leave out the stereotyped inaccuracies. (http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/who_celebtokers.html)

SleepyWitch
08-17-2010, 03:05 AM
How stereotypical and wrong would you like to be on that one?

Carl Sagan, Michael Bloomberg, Paul McCartney & Bob Marley. That's just a starting quartet. Have you achieved as much as any of them? Or have anywhere near as much money as they do/did?

Please leave out the stereotyped inaccuracies. (http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/who_celebtokers.html)

Heheh, it's my fault, I provoked him into saying that by joking about hippies. Hum, I might start a new thread about that ;)
Will reply in detail later and write about the nation state etc.

Virgil
08-17-2010, 08:01 PM
How stereotypical and wrong would you like to be on that one?

Carl Sagan, Michael Bloomberg, Paul McCartney & Bob Marley. That's just a starting quartet. Have you achieved as much as any of them? Or have anywhere near as much money as they do/did?

Please leave out the stereotyped inaccuracies. (http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/who_celebtokers.html)

Well, my comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. :wink5: I suppose it depends on how dependent they were on the drugs and what type of drugs.

BienvenuJDC
08-17-2010, 10:29 PM
How stereotypical and wrong would you like to be on that one?

Carl Sagan, Michael Bloomberg, Paul McCartney & Bob Marley. That's just a starting quartet. Have you achieved as much as any of them? Or have anywhere near as much money as they do/did?

Please leave out the stereotyped inaccuracies. (http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/who_celebtokers.html)

Just because society supported these drug users in exchange for some commodity does not mean that Virgil's statement was inaccurate. If all of society indulged in such a lifestyle, we can only suppose, but I think Virgil is correct.

The Atheist
08-18-2010, 12:17 AM
Just because society supported these drug users in exchange for some commodity does not mean that Virgil's statement was inaccurate. If all of society indulged in such a lifestyle, we can only suppose, but I think Virgil is correct.

Then you should discuss it in a new thread. I'll come and join in.

NikolaiI
08-18-2010, 03:20 AM
Well, my comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. :wink5: I suppose it depends on how dependent they were on the drugs and what type of drugs.

One point that might be made is the complete misunderstanding of certain drugs in our society. For instance that alcohol is a hard drug, while marijuana is a soft drug. Yet because of propaganda most people don't believe this or understand it. The result is bad health for people who choose a hard drug over a soft drug. Other drugs like mescaline in peyote are used the Native Americans as a aide to seeing the spirit world, as Alan Watts says, these are medicines. But our society is all confused about the point. But as you say it's for another topic.

SleepyWitch
08-18-2010, 03:45 AM
I'll start a hippies and drugs thread then :) Please post there?

SleepyWitch
08-19-2010, 03:21 AM
Without strong reasons for controlling nationalism and national agression, they will re-surface. That community violence will always be there, ready to be exploited.

The violence in Greece's riots recently were just an aperitif of what can happen in no time.

The Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/etc cluster** is a great example of how it can happen. The various groups in that conflict had been under an enforced "peace" for at least a couple of generations. As soon as the lid was taken off with Tito's death, whoof! Up she goes in flames.

People hate a lot.




History seems to show that. And if you think that national borders mean something, forget that too. Every culture has sub cultures. Hutus and Tutsies came from the same country. Hatred from one regional group for another in the same country exists every where, especially in large entities. Any large set of population will divide itself into groups. Heck, New York City is filled with dozens of sub groups. There will always be an "us" and "them". That is absolutely human nature.

I agree about the nation state, Atheist. On the other hand, if all the ethnic groups or tribes or whatever that are currently striving for independence, were to found their own nation states. We'd then get a lot of small states that aren't economically viable on their own. So they'd have to forge supranational links and that would mean economic interdependence. So there'd be less wars???? What about those warmongering states that don't have any major internal conflicts/ secession movements?
I guess development aid could focus on creating transborder regions and projects?
I suppose as long as the idea of the "nation state" is around, people will assume that all the inhabitants of a nation state have to be from the same ethnic group. But actually, we've had 'multicultural' societies in "the West" for a couple of decades now and throughout history there has always been migration. I wonder why we don't advertise this more as a model for developing countries. Are we trying to sell them an 'ideal' 19th century nation state because there is disagreement about multiculturalism, globalization etc. within our own societies? So to cover up these tensions within our own countries, we try to sell an old-fashioned notion of what defines a nation state to these countries?

The Atheist
08-23-2010, 03:51 PM
I just had a thought, since I was reading on the subject: Switzerland.

Dodo25
08-23-2010, 06:20 PM
I just had a thought, since I was reading on the subject: Switzerland.

Indeed, very small state with four different national languages (Swiss-German, French, Italian and Rumantsch). Major cities are open to globalization, there's a lot of ethnic food, people speak English.. Economically stable, even rich. Neutral. Direct democracy. Sounds perfect..

However, there are some downsides too. A couple of years ago, the Swiss People's Party caused international uproar with an advertizing campaign featuring white sheeps in Switzerland kicking out black sheep. The asylum and immigration policies are quite harsh. Recently, the population voted in favor of banning the building of minaretts on mosques. There are some strong nationalistic sentiments, especially in rural areas...

Edit: And to come back to the actual topic for once, there has been a pretty serious civil war between Protestants and Catholics, and even nowadays, some of the traditional older Cantons still don't like each other because of religious differences.

Virgil
08-23-2010, 08:22 PM
Switzerland was not immune to the Protestant/Catholic wars nor the Napoleonic wars. They have had a post Napoleonic era stance of neutrality. Given the geography (and the success they used in defense of their country using that geography throughout history), the relative smallness of the country, the fact that they don't make any alliances (for the most part), and the fact that its banking system is so intertwined with all nations economies, no one has dared or had reason to threaten it past Napoleon. By the way they do have a military with compulsary participatrion which they have mobilized in times of potential danger. I read them as neutral but not pacifists. As I researched this, I think Switerland would be my ideal country to live in. Between their right to bear arms, their passionate democracy, and their strong support of capitalism, that sounds like my kind of town. :D

Dodo25
08-23-2010, 08:51 PM
By the way they do have a military with compulsary participation which they have mobilized in times of potential danger. I read them as neutral but not pacifists.

Yes, very damn true, Switzerland has the third (I think?) biggest active army in Europe. A small fraction of it is in peace corps serving the strong humanitarian tradition of the country (Geneva). The rest is, IMHO, a large waste of money and lifes, at least in the twenty first century. Swiss girls are very lucky, they enjoy the benefits without being forced into the military. Who is yelling emancipation now?

Virgil
08-23-2010, 08:56 PM
Yes, very damn true, Switzerland has the third (I think?) biggest active army in Europe. A small fraction of it is in peace corps serving the strong humanitarian tradition of the country (Geneva). The rest is, IMHO, a large waste of money and lifes, at least in the twenty first century. Swiss girls are very lucky, they enjoy the benefits without being forced into the military. Who is yelling emancipation now?

Wow, the third largest? That's pretty substantial given France, Germany, and Britain. I wonder if that's on a per capita basis.

stlukesguild
08-23-2010, 09:13 PM
Switzerland has the third (I think?) biggest active army in Europe.

Wow, the third largest? That's pretty substantial given France, Germany, and Britain. I wonder if that's on a per capita basis

To say nothing of Russia... which last I read, was still a European nation (although it stretches into Asia).

BienvenuJDC
08-23-2010, 09:14 PM
Wow, the third largest? That's pretty substantial given France, Germany, and Britain. I wonder if that's on a per capita basis.

I'm not sure if you can call what the French has an army.

Do you know how many French soldiers it takes to defend Paris?

Virgil
08-23-2010, 11:15 PM
I'm not sure if you can call what the French has an army.

Do you know how many French soldiers it takes to defend Paris?

No, no. No French Army jokes. This is an international community. :wink5:

SleepyWitch
08-24-2010, 02:16 AM
Wow, the third largest? That's pretty substantial given France, Germany, and Britain. I wonder if that's on a per capita basis.

I found this about the German military:

Active personnel: 247,100[3]
Reserve personnel: 355,000
That's out of a population of 82 million.

And for Britain:


Active personnel 240,200 (ranked 25th)
Reserve personnel 195,300
Population: ~62 million

Germany has conscription (applying to men only), but you can do voluntary community service instead and it's fairly easy to opt out of military service.
There are some elite troops etc. but no professional army on a large scale.
Britain's armed forces are composed of professionals (i.e. volunteers).

Switzerland


Active personnel 134,886[1]
Reserve personnel 77,000[1]
Population: ~8 million

Paulclem
08-24-2010, 07:57 AM
I would still contend that most major wars are about power rather than religion. N Ireland has been cited as an example, but behind the tribal divide, lies the struggle to be ruled by one of two governments.

Motivation is difficult to discern in any war at the time - if not impossible due to media manipulation, propaganda and the subtle seeding of ideas in the popuation. In the Iraq war for example, we were fed stories of Saddam and his son's undoubted cruelty to his own people. Is the media fed stories like this for a purpose? Who knows, but it turned out to be politically conveniant.

The problem is that we can't discern politiccal motivations as an ordinary part of the population. Religious reasons have always been claimed - and may well provide the motivations for individuals in a war - but this just reflects political naivety on the part of the individuals who subscribe to religious motivations for that war.

The example of Switzerland reminded me of Mazhur's earlier post about King Asoka - an Indian King - who converted to Buddhism after witnessing the results of a war of expansion that he was winning. He stopped the war, but retained an army for defence. It is sensible - as i said, how can an ordinary person a well as the current government discern what motivations will fuel a war. A Hitler could rise again to power. Yet I think the best way to hedge against such developments is to promote the UN. The problem there, of course is that it itself is influenced by the major political players.

To make our own decisions based upon morality, we need clarity - which there's virtually no chance of getting in the murky world of politics.

The Atheist
08-24-2010, 01:14 PM
I would still contend that most major wars are about power rather than religion.

Or, to put it in blatant Kiwi-speak, like most conflicts, war's about who has the biggest dick.

Is it surprising that many of them were started by blokes with chronic short-man syndrome? I doubt that psychologically, there was much difference between Adolf and the bloke who buys an American muscle car.

In Dawkins' terms, we're just following our genes.

YMMV

:D


N Ireland has been cited as an example, but behind the tribal divide, lies the struggle to be ruled by one of two governments.

I think religion can be blamed for the absurd continuation of NI.

Without the impetus for hate from the pulpits, they'd have given up years before, but you're right that Ireland kicked off due to political rather than religious reasons.

If only we'd listened to Jonathan Swift.

Paulclem
08-24-2010, 03:14 PM
Or Gladstone

:biggrin5:

The Atheist
08-24-2010, 08:50 PM
Or Gladstone

:biggrin5:

Not just those ones either.

My old man was a great advocate of carpet bombing the place. Thank god he was never Defence Minister - Britain would have been at war with everyone else in the world, all of the time.

Pretty much a continuation of its previous 1000 years.

BienvenuJDC
08-24-2010, 08:58 PM
Is it surprising that many of them were started by blokes with chronic short-man syndrome?

http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/napoleon.jpg

Virgil
08-24-2010, 09:11 PM
I found this about the German military:

That's out of a population of 82 million.

And for Britain:

Population: ~62 million

Germany has conscription (applying to men only), but you can do voluntary community service instead and it's fairly easy to opt out of military service.
There are some elite troops etc. but no professional army on a large scale.
Britain's armed forces are composed of professionals (i.e. volunteers).

Switzerland

Population: ~8 million

Thanks Sleepy. Just as a comparison, let me put the United States:

Active personnel 1,477,896[2] (ranked 2nd)
Reserve personnel 1,458,500[3]
Population ~ 300 million

Let's see ratios:
Germany: 0.30% in active military
Britain: 0.38% in active military
Switzerland: 1.7% in active military
USA: 0.5% in active military

Wow, Switzerland is a heck of a pro military country. :D That's more that three times the USA's ratio of active military. I am really surprised.

The Atheist
08-24-2010, 11:18 PM
Wow, Switzerland is a heck of a pro military country.

Maybe yes, maybe no, but as Switzerland has conscription for all males, the size of the armed forces doesn't show anything at all.

The professionals in the Swiss military account for only 5% of the total.

Virgil
08-24-2010, 11:23 PM
Maybe yes, maybe no, but as Switzerland has conscription for all males, the size of the armed forces doesn't show anything at all.

The professionals in the Swiss military account for only 5% of the total.
True. I was kind of kidding with that. I'm sure their military budget is nowhere near the other countries. But over all this is surprising to me.

Dodo25
08-25-2010, 12:37 AM
True. I was kind of kidding with that. I'm sure their military budget is nowhere near the other countries. But over all this is surprising to me.

I wouldn't be so sure about that. Switzerland does have a lot of money. In 2009 for instance they considered buying new fighter planes for 2.2 billion dollars, I think they actually bought them but I haven't followed the story.

They've got excellent material, and of course Swiss army knives for all the soldiers.

A little known fact is that after World War II, Switzerland was working on a nuclear bomb program. It was cancelled in the 1980, but they got kinda far actually.

Paulclem
08-25-2010, 05:22 AM
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Switzerland does have a lot of money. In 2009 for instance they considered buying new fighter planes for 2.2 billion dollars, I think they actually bought them but I haven't followed the story.

They've got excellent material, and of course Swiss army knives for all the soldiers.

A little known fact is that after World War II, Switzerland was working on a nuclear bomb program. It was cancelled in the 1980, but they got kinda far actually.

And they've got the particle accelerator- which is in competition with the US I heard on the news. Makes you wonder what else is going on in those deep mountain tunnels.

Virgil
08-25-2010, 08:15 PM
They've got excellent material, and of course Swiss army knives for all the soldiers.

That is true. I've got a couple of swiss army pocket knives myself. And yes they have good engineering there. And as i searched the internet they have some ordinance manufactuers and developers.


A little known fact is that after World War II, Switzerland was working on a nuclear bomb program. It was cancelled in the 1980, but they got kinda far actually.
That would be incredibly surprising. This has been very eye openning. I had not known all of this about Switzerland. I did imagine them as sort of a non-military country.

Dodo - I take it you're from Swritzerland?

OrphanPip
08-25-2010, 08:21 PM
Canada has a really tiny, overly funded military.

Canada's military spending is 12th in the world (understandable given Canada is the 10th largest economy in the world, India is going to pass us soon), but our military is the 75th largest, number roughly around 80,000 for a country of 32 million. I don't know what they spend all the money on.

Edit: According to wikipedia, despite having the 12th largest military budget, as a percentage of our GDP we're 111th.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-26-2010, 08:00 AM
I nominate Canada for the s a n e s t country in the world.

The Atheist
08-26-2010, 04:29 PM
I nominate Canada for the s a n e s t country in the world.

Now, if only we can teach them to speak, eh.

SleepyWitch
08-26-2010, 04:29 PM
I think it all depends on whether by 'religion' you mean religion as a conceptual system or the people who interpret and believe in religions and act accordingly.

JuniperWoolf
08-26-2010, 07:01 PM
Canada has a really tiny, overly funded military.

Tell me about it. Were you in cadets? I got to ride a tank and drop from a cliff when I was fourteen, carefully watched over by a large group military personnel specially educated in training kids. Good times, especially for a free government-funded organization.

Leland Gaunt
08-26-2010, 11:21 PM
I think it all depends on whether by 'religion' you mean religion as a conceptual system or the people who interpret and believe in religions and act accordingly.
The two are inseparable.

BienvenuJDC
08-26-2010, 11:46 PM
The two are inseparable.

There is a difference between the concept that is developed within the Bible, and that which is "organized" by the many different groups. You say that they are inseparable, and I disagree.

Leland Gaunt
08-26-2010, 11:56 PM
There is a difference between the concept that is developed within the Bible, and that which is "organized" by the many different groups. You say that they are inseparable, and I disagree.
There is a difference between your subjective interpretation of the concept(s) developed within the Bible, and others subjective interpretations of concept(s) in the Bible.

BienvenuJDC
08-27-2010, 12:02 AM
There is a difference between your subjective interpretation of the concept(s) developed within the Bible, and others subjective interpretations of concept(s) in the Bible.

I'm sorry? I never made any mention of my interpretation of anything.

Leland Gaunt
08-27-2010, 12:16 AM
I'm sorry? I never made any mention of my interpretation of anything.
:smile5:
Alrighty then, I will spell it out, there is no single concept that is developed within the Bible or any religious text. It's written by multiple authors, across many years, and with conflicting stories. Every single thing expressed within the Bible is interpretable. There is no separating the "idea" from man, and man's many ways of understanding that "idea".

SleepyWitch
08-27-2010, 06:29 AM
:smile5:
Alrighty then, I will spell it out, there is no single concept that is developed within the Bible or any religious text. It's written by multiple authors, across many years, and with conflicting stories. Every single thing expressed within the Bible is interpretable. There is no separating the "idea" from man, and man's many ways of understanding that "idea".

I agree with the bit I highlighted. But then it's still up to people how they interpret the bible or other religious texts and which bits they focus on. So if they pick the passage that encourage war, it's still those people's fault because they are responsible for how they interpret it.

BienvenuJDC
08-27-2010, 07:19 AM
:smile5:
Alrighty then, I will spell it out, there is no single concept that is developed within the Bible or any religious text. It's written by multiple authors, across many years, and with conflicting stories. Every single thing expressed within the Bible is interpretable. There is no separating the "idea" from man, and man's many ways of understanding that "idea".

Conflicting stories? Really? Where?

JuniperWoolf
08-27-2010, 05:05 PM
Conflicting stories? Really? Where?

Is that supposed to be a joke?

Leland Gaunt
08-27-2010, 05:19 PM
Conflicting stories? Really? Where?
What were Jesus' last words? What was the order of creation? Who found the empty tomb?


I agree with the bit I highlighted. But then it's still up to people how they interpret the bible or other religious texts and which bits they focus on. So if they pick the passage that encourage war, it's still those people's fault because they are responsible for how they interpret it.
The idea still encompassed war, though. It encompassed peace as well, they have to choose something. So if you disagree with my statement saying, that ideas do not exist outside of man, then where else do they exist? Also, I'm curious, how would you draw the distinction between religion as a conceptual system, and how it is practiced?

Sebas. Melmoth
08-27-2010, 06:35 PM
What were Jesus' last words?

John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Yahshua said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

BienvenuJDC
08-27-2010, 06:59 PM
What were Jesus' last words? What was the order of creation? Who found the empty tomb?


Just because there are different perspectives, does not mean that there are conflicts. You still haven't shown an actual conflict.


Is that supposed to be a joke?

Supply me some actual conflicts instead of a sly comment.

Scheherazade
08-27-2010, 07:08 PM
W a r n i n g

Please do not personalise your arguments.

Comments containing personal and/or off-topic comments will be removed without further warning.

Leland Gaunt
08-27-2010, 10:30 PM
John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Yahshua said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
MAT 27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

LUK 23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

Just because there are different perspectives, does not mean that there are conflicts. You still haven't shown an actual conflict.
How do three different versions of his last words, not conflict with each other?

JuniperWoolf
08-28-2010, 05:20 AM
Supply me some actual conflicts instead of a sly comment.

How about the fact that the entire old testament reads like it was written by a room full of stoned gorillas? It was really one of the most painful things that I've ever read (and I've marked fourth grade term papers). The new testament is better, not filled with random gibberish, but there are still a bucket full of contradictions. Let's type "bible contradictions" into google, shall we? Oh look, a huge page of bible inconsistencies:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html

Sebas. Melmoth
08-28-2010, 08:17 AM
How do three different versions of his last words, not conflict with each other?

Matt. 27:50 When Yahshua had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

Luke 23:46 Yahshua called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Yahshua said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Looks like He said both "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" and "It is finished."

Sebas. Melmoth
08-28-2010, 08:24 AM
The entire old testament reads like it was written by a room full of stoned gorillas?

Not true, my dear. The OT has fairly clear divisions of the Law, Psalms, and Prophets, plus certain historical books.

My guess is that you are referring to the Prophets which at first glance may have a chaotic appearance; but this is a matter of perspective.

For example, looking at a range of mountains one cannot see the valleys or canyons in between the mountains because of a certain perspective.

It's the same with the Prophets who spoke two ways: (1) of their peoples' past and current historical situations, and (2) of future events.
The two are almost always mixed to certain degrees, and this is where your confusion lies.

Virgil
08-28-2010, 08:52 AM
What has all this to do with Religion and War? Amazing how these threads degenerate.

Leland Gaunt
08-28-2010, 09:45 AM
Matt. 27:50 When Yahshua had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

Luke 23:46 Yahshua called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Yahshua said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Looks like He said both "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" and "It is finished."
Looks like an awful big assumption on your part. Neither does it say that he said both, one after the other, nor do you include the first part of the forsaken quote.

What has all this to do with Religion and War? Amazing how these threads degenerate.
Our progression to this point seems pretty linear, but unfortunately we've gotten hung up on a very small part of the entire question raised. If only we could move on to the more pertinent point.:brickwall

The Atheist
08-28-2010, 03:08 PM
What has all this to do with Religion and War? Amazing how these threads degenerate.

Degenerate? I would have thought "moved" was probably closer to the mark.

When the subject is religion and anything, it's pretty hard not to bring up the bible, quran and other holy books, since they are the religion. Sure, there's interpretice stuff from the Vatican and Lambeth, but so there is from Dallas and Teheran.

Given that only the lunatic fringe claim to have one-on-one chats with their god-bloke, what else actually is there other than the bible to figure out what that god-bloke wants/orders for humankind. It's not like he's Benny Hinn, on tv around the world, screaming for money - he's easy to work out.

Every single religion I can think of is based upon a holy book of some kind. Amazingly, they all differ.

Even worse, it is absolutely unquestionable that Juniper & Leland's statements are correct - the christian bible is a mire of misinformation, contradictions and outright lies.

Your church may well feel it has the official interpretation for the bible, but just using the first three theists I can think of in this thread, MazHur, Sebas. Melmoth, Daffyd Manton; they all belong to different churches to you, and I'm certain that at least two of them probably find your version quite wrong.

One part of the bible insists that wars should be waged against bad guys and that the men should all be killed and the women should all be raped.

I guess Darfur must be the holiest place on earth.

Once the alleged christ had lived, he and his death for 2 and half days apparently cancelled all of those things and made that religion into a peaceful one, where other cheeks are turned, stones remain unthrown and violence is the worst sin possible. Count 'em; how many of Jesus' parables advised that war could be just, moral or allowable? I don't really care how Vatican, Aquinas or any other theist tries to warp the words away, but tell me how many times does Jesus tell his followers that war and/or violence is ok?

Virgil
08-28-2010, 03:25 PM
Even worse, it is absolutely unquestionable that Juniper & Leland's statements are correct - the christian bible is a mire of misinformation, contradictions and outright lies.


Whatever the conversation "moved" on to has nothing to do with religion and war. I couldn't care less about your opinion on the bible and how to read it. Obviously you don't know how. Obviously there are a couple of billion people in the world who read it and don't finds contradictions.

JuniperWoolf
08-28-2010, 04:39 PM
Whatever the conversation "moved" on to has nothing to do with religion and war. I couldn't care less about your opinion on the bible and how to read it. Obviously you don't know how. Obviously there are a couple of billion people in the world who read it and don't finds contradictions.

I think that they do, they just choose to pretend that they don't when they're talking to non-theists. These ridiculously obvious contradictions still bother them, though. When I typed "bible contradictions" into google, the number one search with that term was "bible contradictions explained," because people are looking for answers and explanations for the bible's inconsistencies. These people must be Christians, because a non-Christian wouldn't care,; they don’t take the book seriously anyway. You could imagine that for someone who's trying to find existential meaning in a book that is based on a large-scale version of the children's game "telephone," all of the head-shaking ideas that the bible randomly bounces around would be pretty disconcerting.

As for how this is relavent to the topic, I would have thought that pretty obvious. Like The Atheist said, try to go to the bible for the answer: "is killing other people okay?" Depends who you ask, because the bible doesn't give any answers on the subject that it doesn't directly contradict later on. The op is asking about how religion pertains to war, and since the only source of religion is it's respective holy book, then what that holy book says about war (and then says something completely different about it later on) is directly related to the subject of discussion.

As for "not knowing how" to read the bible, that's silly. Why would you read it differently than you do any other book? If anything, you should just use more critical thinking.

The Atheist
08-28-2010, 05:25 PM
Whatever the conversation "moved" on to has nothing to do with religion and war.

Did you really say that? Does the bible have no impact on christianity?

Seems to me that it's impossible to discuss religion without discussing the holy books, but if you would like to explain how it can be done,please go ahead.

Please also try to answer my question about Jesus himself. Everything that is "known" about Jesus is in the christian bible.

Where does Jesus say that war is acceptable in any fashion whatsoever?



Obviously there are a couple of billion people in the world who read it and don't finds contradictions.

As noted by Juniper, what you're doing here is the equivalent of standing in the corner with your fingers in your ears. There are contradictions, that much isn't just obvious but demonstrably true. Whether those contradictions matter is a different thing entirely, but if you want to play numbers - a silly exercise if you ask me - then it's equally obvious that 3/4 of the world's population don't give a tinker's cuss about what's in the bible, because while christianity is arguably the largest religion*, it is still a small minority of all people.

*I dispute that myself as I'd base "adherents" on those who actually go to church/mosque/temple attendance, in which case islam wins by light years.

Leland Gaunt
08-28-2010, 07:18 PM
Given that only the lunatic fringe claim to have one-on-one chats with their god-bloke, what else actually is there other than the bible to figure out what that god-bloke wants/orders for humankind.
I suspect that there are at least a few cold, calculating, power-hungry s.o.b.s, out there.


Every single religion I can think of is based upon a holy book of some kind. Amazingly, they all differ.
Their similarities are even more interesting. So many carpenters, virgin-births, and resurrections, it's all quite fascinating.


*I dispute that myself as I'd base "adherents" on those who actually go to church/mosque/temple attendance, in which case islam wins by light years.
With agnostic theists, and closet atheists ahead of even Islam.


I couldn't care less about your opinion on the bible and how to read it. Obviously you don't know how.
Skeptically seems to work just great.

P.S.-Atheist are you a public speaker? Your posts are paced very well for such a thing; jokes always come at the best time, points are concise and direct, and you never push too hard. Your a classy Bill Maher.

BienvenuJDC
08-29-2010, 12:12 AM
How about the fact that the entire old testament reads like it was written by a room full of stoned gorillas? It was really one of the most painful things that I've ever read (and I've marked fourth grade term papers). The new testament is better, not filled with random gibberish, but there are still a bucket full of contradictions. Let's type "bible contradictions" into google, shall we? Oh look, a huge page of bible inconsistencies:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html

Instead of googling it and coming up with some website. Why don't we start with one that you know of personally. If you don't know of one personally, then you are assuming that there are.

The Atheist
08-29-2010, 12:17 AM
P.S.-Atheist are you a public speaker? Your posts are paced very well for such a thing; jokes always come at the best time, points are concise and direct, and you never push too hard. Your a classy Bill Maher.

Thanks very much!

Yes, I do public speaking and running seminars etc, which is probably where it comes from.


Instead of googling it and coming up with some website. Why don't we start with one that you know of personally. If you don't know of one personally, then you are assuming that there are.

I know that's directed elsewhere, but complaining about "some website" is not valid.

The Infidels group has been a repository of biblical criticism since the birth of the internet, so it is in fact, the definitive list of contradictions as seen by non-theistic biblical scholars.

It is by far the best place to start.

IceM
08-29-2010, 12:48 AM
Instead of googling it and coming up with some website. Why don't we start with one that you know of personally. If you don't know of one personally, then you are assuming that there are.

I can think of a Biblical contradiction in this sense, as it's genetically impossible. Correct me if I'm wrong: God created Adam and Eve when He first created Man. Nobody else. They had two children, Cain and Abel. Now stop.

There are more ethnicities in the world than one can count on his hands and feet five times over. How would such a genetic variation exist if Mankind only deviated from two people? Even if Adam and Eve were 1% of everything, full-bred (insert ethnicity here) would be impossible. Explain how that can happen.

BienvenuJDC
08-29-2010, 12:56 AM
I know that's directed elsewhere, but complaining about "some website" is not valid.

The Infidels group has been a repository of biblical criticism since the birth of the internet, so it is in fact, the definitive list of contradictions as seen by non-theistic biblical scholars.

It is by far the best place to start.

Ok...here is the first one on the website.

GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day.

Separating light from darkness is not the same thing as separating the day from night using the sun and the moon. This is by FAR, not a contradiction.


This one is the second.

GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.

No one ever said that Genesis 2 is a chronological account. Genesis 1 covers the six days, while Genesis 2 covers portions (already mentioned in Genesis 1) in more detail. This AGAIN is not a contradiction.

The 3rd-5th items are like the 2nd.

The sixth item on the list is:

GE 1:28 God encourages reproduction.
LE 12:1-8 God requires purification rites following childbirth which, in effect, makes childbirth a sin. (Note: The period for purification following the birth of a daughter is twice that for a son.)

Calling for "purification rites" is NOT the same as sin. Telling someone that they need to take medical (and cleanliness) precautions is not saying that they have committed sin. This is NOT a contradiction.


Another one...
GE 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
GE 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.

God said that what He had made was "very good", but later was disappointed that man had sinned. Just because He was disappointed (and grieved in His heart for man) does not negate what was said in Genesis 1:31. This is NOT a contradiction.

Another one...
GE 2:4, 4:26, 12:8, 22:14-16, 26:25 God was already known as "the Lord" (Jahveh or Jehovah) much earlier than the time of Moses.
EX 6:2-3 God was first known as "the Lord" (Jahveh or Jehovah) at the time of the Egyptian Bondage, during the life of Moses.

Just because MOSES uses the reference of LORD (Jehovah) in Genesis does not mean that Abraham (or any of the other individuals in Genesis) knew that reference. MOSES was the one who by God's inspiration wrote the Genesis account. This is NOT a contradiction.

I'm not wasting time going through the whole list. Maybe one ought to take the time to really check the list.

If this is all you have to "prove" that the Bible has contradiction, then you have NOTHING.

Siting some website does not prove one's point.

Leland Gaunt
08-29-2010, 04:49 AM
If you don't know of one personally, then you are assuming that there are.
Hardly, I don't keep the contradictions memorized. But they are highlighted in my Bible, so that is from where whence mine came. The same ones that you have yet to answer sufficiently, they are not offering different perspectives on the same event, they are recording 3 entirely different events.

Correct me if I'm wrong: God created Adam and Eve when He first created Man. Nobody else. They had two children, Cain and Abel. Now stop.

There are more ethnicities in the world than one can count on his hands and feet five times over. How would such a genetic variation exist if Mankind only deviated from two people? Even if Adam and Eve were 1% of everything, full-bred (insert ethnicity here) would be impossible. Explain how that can happen.
I imagine this will be chalked up to a metaphor, but let us wait and see.

I'm not wasting time going through the whole list.
I doubt you could but I'm more interested in how you think that the two are separable, because we have strayed a bit from that point. So if you would, please?

Edit:
Separating light from darkness is not the same thing as separating the day from night using the sun and the moon. This is by FAR, not a contradiction.
Where does light come from?

The Atheist
08-29-2010, 04:59 AM
Ok...here is the first one on the website.

GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day.

Separating light from darkness is not the same thing as separating the day from night using the sun and the moon. This is by FAR, not a contradiction.


This one is the second.

GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.

No one ever said that Genesis 2 is a chronological account. Genesis 1 covers the six days, while Genesis 2 covers portions (already mentioned in Genesis 1) in more detail. This AGAIN is not a contradiction.

:lol:

This is why I'm much more interested in where Jesus allows for violence of any kind, or proposes war as an option.

I have more interest in Aesop's fables than the OT, but I've always quite liked Jesus' teachings. It just amuses me that the vast majority of people who claim to be christians manage to completely ignore them when it suits.

But it's me who's going to hell.

:smilielol5:

SleepyWitch
08-29-2010, 05:41 AM
Seems to me that it's impossible to discuss religion without discussing the holy books, but if you would like to explain how it can be done,please go ahead.
But wouldn't it make more sense to focus on those quotes that relate to whether war is permissible or not? What's the point in discussing random contradictions in the bible that haven't much to do with the topic?
Maybe some Christians would even be willing to admit that there are certain contradictions in the bible if atheists managed to concentrate only on those contradictions that are relevant to a particular question? Sorry if I sound rude. I'm just trying to see it from their perspective.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-29-2010, 12:10 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong: God created Adam and Eve when He first created Man. Nobody else. They had two children, Cain and Abel. Now stop. How would such a genetic variation exist if Mankind only deviated from two people? Even if Adam and Eve were 1% of everything, full-bred (insert ethnicity here) would be impossible. Explain how that can happen.

I love this question. Firstly, in humankind what is a 'full-bred (insert ethnicity here)'?
Answer: there is none, for we all share the same DNA.

Secondly, when reading the Scriptures, a certain sanctified common sense is required--and also some imaginative thinking as well.

Okay: the Man was created from the soil. Well, good soil is black. QED: could not the Man be black?

Okay: the Woman was created from the living Man's bone. Ever seen an exposed living bone in a body? Lemme tell ya, it's snow-white. QED: the Woman could have been white.

Therefore we have all genetic material for the human rainbow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The other issue refers to the Fall.

Eve was decieved by Satan; Adam willfully trespassed; when they fell from grace it included a Fall of all Creation.

Before the Fall there was no corruption; after the fall death and corruption entered everything (the human family and all creation).

Fanciful comme vous voudrez, but there it is.

altheskeptic
08-29-2010, 01:36 PM
All forms of life have the same DNA. It is the way it is coded that makes the difference.
You have the same DNA as a pine tree.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-29-2010, 01:41 PM
Yeah, hello, duh!

Obviously referring to the human sequence code.

altheskeptic
08-29-2010, 02:08 PM
War is permissible in the O.T. It was not only permissible but commanded by God.

The land was to be taken by force. And (in some cases) everyone killed...man, woman, children, beast of the field.

The Atheist
08-29-2010, 06:42 PM
But wouldn't it make more sense to focus on those quotes that relate to whether war is permissible or not? What's the point in discussing random contradictions in the bible that haven't much to do with the topic?
Maybe some Christians would even be willing to admit that there are certain contradictions in the bible if atheists managed to concentrate only on those contradictions that are relevant to a particular question? Sorry if I sound rude. I'm just trying to see it from their perspective.

I'd like to stay away from the more general inconsistencies and just focus on Jesus' view.

After all, he did supercede the OT in every respect, according to christians, so what the OT says is irrelevant. Christians eat lobster & pork and are not forced to refrain from shaving since Jesus' arrival.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-29-2010, 06:56 PM
He [Jesus] did supercede the OT in every respect, according to christians, so what the OT says is irrelevant. Christians eat lobster & pork and are not forced to refrain from shaving since Jesus' arrival.

{EDIT}

Messiah fulfilled the Law in every aspect--meaning not only did He not break the Law, but He did all in all what the Law commanded.

For Jews (Orthodox or Messianic) the Law is relevant, although they currently cannot engage in Temple worship (i.e., the sacrifical system) required by the Law. Jews in Jerusalem may rebuild the [Third] Temple within our lifetimes.

Gentile followers of Messiah were never required to follow the letter of the Law as they were not children of Abraham as to the flesh; as they are children of Abraham as to the spirit, they are required to obey the spirit of the Law.

The Atheist
08-29-2010, 07:52 PM
Uh, that's a pretty clueless assessment.

No, you've completely misinterpreted what I said, but since I was largely typing with tongue in cheek, I won't let it bother me.

Virgil
08-29-2010, 08:17 PM
I think that they do, they just choose to pretend that they don't when they're talking to non-theists.

{EDIT}. Tell that to the Pope.


These ridiculously obvious contradictions still bother them, though. When I typed "bible contradictions" into google, the number one search with that term was "bible contradictions explained," because people are looking for answers and explanations for the bible's inconsistencies. These people must be Christians, because a non-Christian wouldn't care,; they don’t take the book seriously anyway. You could imagine that for someone who's trying to find existential meaning in a book that is based on a large-scale version of the children's game "telephone," all of the head-shaking ideas that the bible randomly bounces around would be pretty disconcerting.
There are difficult passages to understand. The average Christian is not a theological student with a PhD. There are people who teach the bible on a college level, who have an understanding of the context, history, the translation, the genre of writing for a particular book. They spend years in discussing commentary and such. This has been going on for centruies. Do yourself a favor and pick up commentary by St. Thomas Aquinas.


As for how this is relavent to the topic, I would have thought that pretty obvious. Like The Atheist said, try to go to the bible for the answer: "is killing other people okay?" Depends who you ask, because the bible doesn't give any answers on the subject that it doesn't directly contradict later on. The op is asking about how religion pertains to war, and since the only source of religion is it's respective holy book, then what that holy book says about war (and then says something completely different about it later on) is directly related to the subject of discussion.
That is a legitamate question. I was in a hurry before and passed over it. I will answer it.


As for "not knowing how" to read the bible, that's silly. Why would you read it differently than you do any other book? If anything, you should just use more critical thinking.
Sorry, take a few college classes on the subjhect. I find it amaing how people on the internet are experts in everything. Whether it be science, politics, religion, other countries, whatever. Children's sunday school doesn't cut it in claiming to really understand the Bible.



Did you really say that? Does the bible have no impact on christianity?

No I was referring to the bible contradictions discussion. What does pointing out Bible contradictions have to do with war?


Seems to me that it's impossible to discuss religion without discussing the holy books, but if you would like to explain how it can be done,please go ahead.
Of course, when it's relevant to the subject.


Please also try to answer my question about Jesus himself. Everything that is "known" about Jesus is in the christian bible.

Where does Jesus say that war is acceptable in any fashion whatsoever?

That is a legitamate question. He doesn't to my memory. Christ is a pacifist, for all intents and purposes, though I don't think He addresses war specifically. I cannot live up to that ideal. I'm conscious of it and fully admit it and i ask Christ for his mercy on judgement day. But unless you wish to be martyred or crucified, then i do not recommend pacifism. Theologians for the most part acknowledge the need for defensive war. Whether that's New Testament based or not, I don't know.


As noted by Juniper, what you're doing here is the equivalent of standing in the corner with your fingers in your ears. There are contradictions, that much isn't just obvious but demonstrably true. Whether those contradictions matter is a different thing entirely, but if you want to play numbers - a silly exercise if you ask me - then it's equally obvious that 3/4 of the world's population don't give a tinker's cuss about what's in the bible, because while christianity is arguably the largest religion*, it is still a small minority of all people.
Yeah, and those other people have their religious texts, which I'm sure you would also criticize.

I'm not going to get into resolving the apparent contradictions in the Bible. No one here, including me, is qualified. But if finding different last words of Christ is the biggest contradiction, then that's pretty miniscule. The Gospels were written 35-50 years (Marks around 65 AD and John's around 85 AD) after Christ's death and any lawyer will tell you that no two witnesses see exactly the same thing, and that's not even accounting for long time lapse. Given the oral tradition that occured from Christ's death to the writing of the texts, the transcription issues, the translation issues, it's amazing how much they agree. And frankly total agreement was never the criteria. The Church fathers in the second and third centuries in selecting these specific texts as cannonical among the slew of writings that existed were fully conscious of differences. They could have selected a single Gospel as cannonical but after discusion and understanding they picked the four. No other section in either the Old or New Testaments have have differnet versions such as the Gospels. It would have been easy and traditional to pick just one. They understood the differences. By the way, all the supposed "biblical scholars" here on litnet, how many of you have read the Church fathers writings? I bet none.

Virgil
08-29-2010, 08:21 PM
But wouldn't it make more sense to focus on those quotes that relate to whether war is permissible or not? What's the point in discussing random contradictions in the bible that haven't much to do with the topic?


Exactly my point. Thank you.

BienvenuJDC
08-29-2010, 11:37 PM
Where does light come from?

Light is generated from MANY sources. Are you assuming that there is just one?

Leland Gaunt
08-30-2010, 01:19 AM
Light is generated from MANY sources. Are you assuming that there is just one?
I'd say that just one accounts for a fair majority of it.

I find your style of discussion quite interesting, out of any number of points brought up, only respond to one, in this fashion you can narrow the focus of an originally relevant topic to something completely irrevelant. Like where light comes from.

@Virgil- What is the worth of a book, in which you are supposed to base your worldview upon, if you have be a scholar to understand it and to defend it from it's perceived deficiencies? So does the average Christian understand the Bible?

OrphanPip
08-30-2010, 01:49 AM
The notion of separating light from darkness is nonsensical, since darkness is the absence of light.

Sebas. Melmoth
08-30-2010, 07:27 AM
How many of you have read the Church fathers writings? I bet none.

Suggest Eusebius' History of the Church.

http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780140445350,00.html

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780140445350,00.html?The_History_of_the_Church _Eusebius

Virgil
08-30-2010, 12:12 PM
@Virgil- What is the worth of a book, in which you are supposed to base your worldview upon, if you have be a scholar to understand it and to defend it from it's perceived deficiencies? So does the average Christian understand the Bible?

On the basic points of Christianity yes. That we are linked to Judaism through the Old Testament, that God became incarnate in Christ as we celebrate on Christmas, that Christ's moral teachings (simplified to love God with all your heart, love your neighbor as yourself) are our guide and obligation, that Christ without resistance sufferred torture, was crucified, and through that sacrifice redeemed mankind and our inability to adhere to His moral code, that his resurrection provides salvation, and that through your love of Christ and acceptance of His sacrifice one will have eternal life. That's the core and I believe the average Christain understands that. Defend the Bible from what? If you don't accept it, that's your loss. The key for the average Christian is not so much the logic, but the spirituality. Ultimately one has to have God in one's heart.

In my study of Christanity I have found it to be incredibly complex, and while I can't say I know other religions well, Christianity seems way more complicated than the others. First of all you have two layers of Biblical texts (Old and New Testaments) and the ritual links between the two, the four layers of the Gospels, the concept of God as transcendent and simultaneously imminent, the concept of the Trinity (one God three Beings), salvation, righteousness, and so on. The overlapping of theological principles are astonishing. It's not easy for the average person to understand all that.

The Atheist
08-30-2010, 03:07 PM
That is a legitamate question. He doesn't to my memory. Christ is a pacifist, for all intents and purposes, though I don't think He addresses war specifically.

I disagree.


Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment

Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect


If you can think of any way any of those don't apply to war equally with all forms of violence, then please get back to me.

I thought Jesus was 100% unequivocal on the matter myself, but as you rightly note:


It's not easy for the average person to understand all that.

I'm just a simple soul who dares to presume that when an actual god says something, it would be sensible to comply.

Not that what Jesus said about war has any bearing on my own pacifism, I just enjoy the irony.

:D

JuniperWoolf
08-30-2010, 06:31 PM
Instead of googling it and coming up with some website. Why don't we start with one that you know of personally. If you don't know of one personally, then you are assuming that there are.

Why don't I just look up the parts that the website references and see if they're actually there?

*five minute interval while I look through my boyfriend's dad's bible for a couple of the posts by afformentioned website*

Yeppers, there they are.


Tell that to the Pope.

Hahaha, trust me, I'd like to say that and much much more to your pope.


Sorry, take a few college classes on the subjhect. I find it amaing how people on the internet are experts in everything.

Haha, sure... right after I finish my "unicorns 101" class this semester. By the bye, I'm not just a "person on the internet." Believe it or not, I have a physical form outside of this little box, a body and a life and everything. Shocking eh? Hopefully with this new-found information, you can finally stop calling me "some kid on the internet" (it gets a bit old).

Virgil
08-30-2010, 06:38 PM
I disagree.



If you can think of any way any of those don't apply to war equally with all forms of violence, then please get back to me.

I thought Jesus was 100% unequivocal on the matter myself, but as you rightly note:

Yes, you're right. He is.


I'm just a simple soul who dares to presume that when an actual god says something, it would be sensible to comply.

Not that what Jesus said about war has any bearing on my own pacifism, I just enjoy the irony.
:D
:lol: Very good. But let me remind you that of the three successful pacifist noted in this thread, all three were religiously affiliated and two were Christians. :wink5:

By the way, I'm going to be away for the next two weeks after tomorrow, so I may not be able to respond for a bit.

The Atheist
08-30-2010, 08:49 PM
But let me remind you that of the three successful pacifist noted in this thread, all three were religiously affiliated and two were Christians.

I knew that, which is why MLK is an ideal to use.

mazHur
12-14-2011, 04:50 PM
Wars are a necessary Evil. Sometimes they are conducted in the name of religion sometimes for economic reasons. The Crusades were carried out both for the religious and pecuniary reasons which tended to make the clergy affluent stripping every Christian of his golden pence! Muslim wars or Jihads were primarily for religious reasons only but why would any Jihadi refuse the plunder?? Jihad was not killing the enemies but also aimed at getting killed during the war to acclaim shahadat (martyrdom-regarded as the noblest of divine awards) or to turn out successfully as Ghazi's ( ie victors as Saladin was). The concept of holy war is also envisaged in the Sikh teachings and it was for their warring spirit which motivated them to success in expanding their clime.

Here is an interesting article I just received in an email and it shed some light at comparative acts and real inlaid spirits of warfare as prescribed by the holy scriptures of two of the greatest religions of the world.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124494788

Paulclem
12-14-2011, 06:42 PM
Why are wars necessary? Is it the economic or the religious or both that make them so?

Alexander III
12-15-2011, 05:26 AM
Why are wars necessary? Is it the economic or the religious or both that make them so?

The economic factors make war inevitable, contary to the saying "there are nor real winners in wars" there is always a winner in war. The crusades were masked as a holy war to get the plebs going along, but come on what on earth was holy about the sacking of constantinople?

mazHur
12-15-2011, 05:51 AM
Why are wars necessary? Is it the economic or the religious or both that make them so?

Both. The struggle for Supremacy or Survival, satisfaction of Ego, Expansionism and Envy about 'Neighbors' resources.. show of Power

They say: Big or Small, White or Black, Fat or Thin---they all are 'thieves' in one way or the other!!

JuniperWoolf
12-15-2011, 08:55 AM
Even animals war, and it's always for resources. Resources are often limited, so if creatures are pushed by want or lack, they'll often take what they need by force.

mazHur
12-15-2011, 09:16 AM
Future wars will be for water...
Remember, the Suez canal 'wars' were for passage.
It's not always that wars are in the name of religion. But, ofcourse, religious wars are inevitable if someone, a people or a nation, meddles with the religious sentiments, things or places of another. The case in point is Israel, Palestine, creation of Baltic and Caucasian states....and brewing resentment in Chechnya, the Phillipines , Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc etc. and religious wars are not confined to any one religion. All and everywhere it is the same.

mazHur
12-15-2011, 09:18 AM
Even animals war, and it's always for resources. Resources are often limited, so if creatures are pushed by want or lack, they'll often take what they need by force.

and.........Man is also a 'gregarious Animal', isn't it?? He is similar to animals except in matter of intellect and free will.

togre
12-15-2011, 10:24 AM
Why are wars necessary? Is it the economic or the religious or both that make them so?

The nature of people make them inevitable. Until there is no single evil person in the world, willing to use force to attain his desire, there is a responsibility of the good and upright men to be prepared to defend the things and people that they are responsible for. Yes, this state of affairs is not perfect. No, this state of affairs will never change, this side of heaven, at least.

Paulclem
12-15-2011, 12:18 PM
The nature of people make them inevitable. Until there is no single evil person in the world, willing to use force to attain his desire, there is a responsibility of the good and upright men to be prepared to defend the things and people that they are responsible for. Yes, this state of affairs is not perfect. No, this state of affairs will never change, this side of heaven, at least.

I would agree with you. Economics and religion don't cause wars. People with excuses based in economics and religion cause wars.

I think you're probably right that they will continue, but that's not to say - and you didn't say it I hasten to add - that nothing is inevitable. Particular wars are not necessarily inevitable, but there has to be the will to resist them. It is idealistic, but to just accept that wars happen is pessimistic in the extreme given the destruction and death they wreak. Once they get going - like anger from which they originate - they burn their way on and it seems nothing will stop them until the will develops to end them. There is always a point where they can be averted. Hindsight is lovely. Predicting that point and what would solve it is another matter though.

mazHur
12-15-2011, 12:24 PM
Be on the Offensive
Be on the Defensive
Or just sit Pretty
All roads lead to Rome
That is WAR!!

Paulclem
12-15-2011, 04:41 PM
Future wars will be for water...
Remember, the Suez canal 'wars' were for passage.
It's not always that wars are in the name of religion. But, ofcourse, religious wars are inevitable if someone, a people or a nation, meddles with the religious sentiments, things or places of another. The case in point is Israel, Palestine, creation of Baltic and Caucasian states....and brewing resentment in Chechnya, the Phillipines , Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc etc. and religious wars are not confined to any one religion. All and everywhere it is the same.

It's just as easy to say these wars are about power - tribal power in some cases. Religion is one of the contexts, but unfortunately the most powerful motivator of the manipulated.

Israel and Palestine you could argue are for power and a perceived sense of security. Chechnya - power and independance. Thailand - power one ethnic religious group against a ruling ethnic/ religious group. Afghanistan - power and influence. Pakistan - land. Religion is in the mix but is not the prime motivator of those pursuing the wars with the most to gain.

mazHur
12-15-2011, 04:53 PM
It's just as easy to say these wars are about power - tribal power in some cases. Religion is one of the contexts, but unfortunately the most powerful motivator of the manipulated.

Israel and Palestine you could argue are for power and a perceived sense of security. Chechnya - power and independance. Thailand - power one ethnic religious group against a ruling ethnic/ religious group. Afghanistan - power and influence. Pakistan - land. Religion is in the mix but is not the prime motivator of those pursuing the wars with the most to gain.


To sum up, most disputes in the world are politically-motivated. Religion, in some cases, provides the necessary impetus to fight for one's right, right or wrong.