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What will it take to fix the Islamic world's mess?

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#41 Cressid

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 10:42 PM

I think the communist state was doing this to further its own ends, not for the true betterment of mankind.  


I'm talking about a world in which no one has any reason that is grounded in any religion to hurt or kill another human.

#42 Drew

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 10:55 PM

Cressid, on Nov 21 2003, 09:42 PM, said:

I'm talking about a world in which no one has any reason that is grounded in any religion to hurt or kill another human.
Take away my faith and I have no reason not to hurt another person.
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#43 Cressid

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 11:09 PM

[/QUOTE]
[Take away my faith and I have no reason not to hurt another person.

I find that strange and rather sad.  I have no faith and I have no reason to hurt another person.

#44 Uncle Sid

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 12:03 AM

Quote

I think the communist state was doing this to further its own ends, not for the true betterment of mankind.

On the contrary, Communism itself was invented in order to help out people.  Even though I oppose it in practice, and in theory, I have little doubt that the intent was to create a better system.  It just happened to be a poor solution, precisely because it lent itself to dictatorship and, one might argue, a soulless state and people.  

The fact is that religion is so pervasive today, and although I'd hardly point to any one religion as being paramount in terms of influence, the fact is that it's so much a part of what we know as even the most primitive of cultures that it's incredibly difficult to postulate society without it.  Yes, there may be individuals out there that can be completely atheistic and have no inclination to hurt, attack or otherwise be generally destructive.  You'd include yourself in that category.  On the other hand, there have very definitely been people who are atheistic who have most definitely done a great deal of harm as well.  Essentially, then, an atheistic world seems little better than a world where there is religion.  Without a means by which to really compare the two, however, all that can be said is that a world without religions is by no means the yellow brick road to world peace.  There's been no evidence to show that if the atheists took over and (de)converted everyone that the world would be any better off than it is right now.  

Indeed, it's difficult to imagine that religions that work for peace are going to be any more or less successful than a non religious group working for same.  The fact is that right now, without ability to postulate an afterlife, it really makes no sense for me to bother doing anything that has a future impact beyond my time, or perhaps, my childrens' time.  Why would it matter what I do?  I'm dead, and the future is someone else's problem.  Does that seem incredibly selfish?  Certainly, but then what is selfishness?  What do you care what happens later on?  In an atheistic world, you are the very apex of human evolution, because any evolution afterwards makes absolutely no difference to you whatsoever.  Why shouldn't you, then, get everything that is within your power to get?  Because you're a nice person?  Who cares about being nice?  In an atheistic world, nice people are exploited and the winners write history.  The only way that that changes is if there is really an evolutionary advantage to altruism, but even then, that just means that niceness survives, not necessarily that it triumphs in the end.  Certainly selfish people who produce children will be just as much, if not more successful in breeding as well.  Indeed, ant colonies work very well with tons of drones, but it doesn't mean that the queens are going away any time soon.

In the end, then, religion may be completely fake and be the worship of tiki gods carved out of palm trees, but it's not the problem.  People will kill each other for much more fundemental reasons than religion.  Groups like al-Queda aren't killing people to get in Allah's good graces, they are killing people to get into Allah's good graces so that material wealth and power is returned to the Arabs.  In other words, they're trying to get material wealth and power, which is about the same thing that any atheistic person could also desire.  There's nothing inherently religious about that.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#45 HubcapDave

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 03:07 AM

Cressid, on Nov 21 2003, 05:49 PM, said:

How about the human race deciding that this life is all we have, this planet is our collective home and perhaps we should just let go of religion?
Probably because that's not true.

#46 Drew

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 01:50 PM

Cressid, on Nov 21 2003, 10:09 PM, said:

I find that strange and rather sad.  I have no faith and I have no reason to hurt another person.
But without the answer provided by my faith, I cannot adequately respond to the question "Why should I care about anyone other than myself?" Because it's nice? So what? If this world is all there is--if there is no afterlife--then what difference will it make if I'm a selfish person or not if in the end we're all just worm food anyway? If I believed that death was nothingness, then logically, and to be true to my philosophy, I'd do everything out of selfish ambition. "Serve thyself" would be my motto. I would run on raw animal instinct.
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#47 Cressid

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 03:19 PM

I suppose I get a sense of other's worth simply by looking at myself in a mirror.

I think I'm just like other people -   I don't want to be deliberately harmed by anyone so I choose not to harm.  Since I believe I have some type of value simply by virtue of my existence I assume other do as well.  

As to whether my life or actions have meaning - given that I don't believe in a God - I say yes, and while I mean nothing to the universe I do mean something to myself.   No one can ever relieve me of the responsibility I bear for my own actions.  No God can forgive me and take away the burden of "sin" if I harm another person.   And yes, I have hurt people during my life, sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadvertently.  I can't deny it or change it.  The only thing I can do is learn from it and try not to do it again.    I don't try to change my ways because I've been taught the Golden Rule or because I fear the wrath of a God who may send me to eternal hell, I do it because I simply believe the highest law of mankind should be that we do each other no harm.

#48 Drew

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 03:29 PM

Cressid, on Nov 22 2003, 02:19 PM, said:

As to whether my life or actions have meaning - given that I don't believe in a God - I say yes, and while I mean nothing to the universe I do mean something to myself.
Which puts the ultimate value on the self and one's own experiences.

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I don't try to change my ways because I've been taught the Golden Rule or because I fear the wrath of a God who may send me to eternal hell, I do it because I simply believe the highest law of mankind should be that we do each other no harm.

But what makes it true? (I'm not disagreeing, I'm just examining this philosophically.)
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#49 Cardie

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 03:52 PM

Although I'm not an atheist, my faith doesn't include belief in an afterlife. Nevertheless that to me makes it even more important that life on earth doesn't turn into hell. In an ultimate philosophical sense perhaps even the most altruistic acts are selfish because doing them makes us feel better. However, you seem to be saying that without the expectation of an afterlife, it would please you to act in ways that hurt people and deprive them of things so that you can have them. If you really mean that, you are saying that nice people are fine without faith, but that religion exists to keep the nasty ones from murdering, raping and pillaging at will. I know that I feel terrible if I've hurt someone, and it's not because I'm afraid I'll go to hell.  I  hope you're just playing devil's advocate here, Drew.

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#50 Cressid

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 04:21 PM

Do you mean what makes it true that we shouldn't harm each other?
Personal experience, I guess.  

Haven't you ever been hurt by someone's actions?  When you're in pain are you thinking that suffering builds character or just thinking that "wow, this sucks" and you wish it would end?  Why would anyone want to spread that around?  Knowing how bad I feel when it happens to me is enough incentive for me to make sure I try not to cause others the same kind of grief.

I don't always succeed , of course, but I'm aware that I make conscious choices about how I treat people and that the consequences are mine alone to bear.

#51 Bad Wolf

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 04:38 PM

Well "the Islamic world's mess" is a hugely vague term that could mean lots of things.  My basic feeling is that in regions of the world where war is endemic, there is no solution because the idea of people using the small element of religious fanaticism in order to either dictate political policy or justify acts of terror is too ingrained.  In the US we've had separation of Church and State for well over 200 years and there are still rather vocal elements in our society that resist it.  There is no way to separate church from state in these areas and even if it were done it would only be a policy and actually changing people's beliefs would take generations, if it's even possible (which I don't think it is).  In short, I often find myself thinking along the lines of what Themis posted even though I don't *really* wish that.  I just find it all frustrating and increasingly frightening.

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#52 Drew

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 06:22 PM

Cardie, on Nov 22 2003, 02:52 PM, said:

However, you seem to be saying that without the expectation of an afterlife, it would please you to act in ways that hurt people and deprive them of things so that you can have them. If you really mean that, you are saying that nice people are fine without faith, but that religion exists to keep the nasty ones from murdering, raping and pillaging at will. I know that I feel terrible if I've hurt someone, and it's not because I'm afraid I'll go to hell. I hope you're just playing devil's advocate here, Drew.
Oh, of course. I'm just trying to follow various philosophies to their logical conclusions. (And like I said, I'm not really taking the time to fully flesh this out.)
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#53 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 22 November 2003 - 06:51 PM

I have to agree with those who have said Islam is not fundamentally evil.  As a religion it tends to be one that works to convert large numbers of people and it is expansionistic or has been.  That doesnít mean that it is evil but really you have to judge.  The bad sectors of Islam are groups that have basically gone off the deep end of rational thought in their policies.  Saudi Wahabism as Zack puts forward is an excellent example.  Sometimes entire proportions of groups or even large numbers than that go off the deep end but that donít mean everything is evil.  Consider Western European Society and the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy or sat Communist Dictatorship in Europe.  These groups committed some of the greatest atrocities in the history of the world.  Yet somehow I doubt many people would claim that the cultures of Europe and Russia are inherently evil throughout.  It was a case where very large portions of people managed to twist the concepts of those cultures into something that was ďfundamentally violentĒ.      

Now I agree with Zack to a large degree on alternative sources and having to wean away from it.  Where I disagree with Zack is that I think it would be far harder to switch us off our reliance on petroleum products.  Even the best alternative energy sources that exist today are in their infancy and new technology.  It will take probably a decade even at a full effort to start shifting ourselves to alternative sources.   Fuel cells are still are fairly new technology that comes with their own problems that need to be worked out before they can become any sort of practical widely applicable technology. Nuclear power really had itís own problems that go with it and I really donít see widespread adoption until fusion becomes a reality.  So while I think a search for alternative sources of power is needed we have to realize it will take decades before we can really bear the full fruit of any such quest.  In the meantime I would suggest switching over greater reliance on Russian oil sources and other sources of oil in the world.  As we do that plus with greater reliance on alternative sources as they become available it would have more impact than alternative sources alone.

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Drew: Yep. Knew about the novel. I just didn't get the application here. Basically, the idea is that instead of trying to fight against terrorists via conventional methods, we train surgical assault teams to target terrorist leaders, etc.

Well Rainbow* really isnít a surgical assault team to hunt terrorists down.  They spend most of their time responding to terroristís threats that have developed.  So most of their missions consist of things like hostage rescue.  Rainbow is really an elite team made up of the best hostage negotiators, operations, and intelligence gathering experts along with an organic airwing.  Rainbow would only very rarely be used in offensive strikes against terrorist threats.  They are more of a FBI HRT on steroids.        

*Rainbow Six is the codename for Mr. Clark.
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#54 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 12:38 AM

Delvo, on Nov 21 2003, 06:37 AM, said:

Certainly, although many of you don't agree with my assessment that the current trend toward berserk maniacal bloodthirst is the true nature of Islam, there can be no serious argument that it is a problem that's rather conspicuopusly prevalent within it. Other religions have had some pretty funky problems before, and some have gotten over it. But how? What can kickstart the change "back" to sanity?
As is always true - the seeds of change are within the religion itself.  Religions don't have "true natures" that are like this - people have longstanding traditional attitudes that are like this.  When a prophet comes - the first thing He or She does is admonish the people NOT to do a thing - when they leave - the first thing people do is look to find out how the prophet said to do it, after all...

To solve the problem - three things are needed.  Education - with a favoritism toward girls and women (O.k. that's a Baha'i idea, but it goes a LONG way toward solving ills in the Islamic world), civil democratic government with laws based on the Qur'an, and the abolishment of the authoritative usage of hadith for ANY purpose but history. (I believe that if God intended hadith to be authoritative - He would have put them in the Qur'an!).

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