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Thread: Hitler, Religion, and Morality

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    This thread was started after off topic discussion exploded in Greatest German Contributions to the World.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Hitler, Religion, and Morality

    Maciamo I feel strange if front of such antichristianism that you represents, ironically the rise of antichristian ideologies like national socialism in Germany and communism in Russia started killing spring of twentieth century which took lives of hundreds of millions of people in less than eighty years. I am not familiar with Karl Marx publications, so I do not know if brutality of communists was a direct results of them, but I cannot recognize him as philosopher because methodology used in his works was totally wrong which makes it unscientific. Otherwise Adolf Hitler as well could be considered as philosopher, which would be quite unfortunate.

    Some people hate Christianity so much that they attributes to it untrue characteristic only to the deterioration of general opinion of it. Nevertheless facts shows that nowhere in the world expect of Europe thought and action evolved that way to support explorers, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs at a time, and guess what religion was dominant in Europe during that time? And what religions were in other parts of the world where this have never happened?

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    Quote Originally Posted by matbir View Post
    Maciamo I feel strange if front of such antichristianism that you represents, ironically the rise of antichristian ideologies like national socialism in Germany and communism in Russia started killing spring of twentieth century which took lives of hundreds of millions of people in less than eighty years. I am not familiar with Karl Marx publications, so I do not know if brutality of communists was a direct results of them, but I cannot recognize him as philosopher because methodology used in his works was totally wrong which makes it unscientific. Otherwise Adolf Hitler as well could be considered as philosopher, which would be quite unfortunate.

    Some people hate Christianity so much that they attributes to it untrue characteristic only to the deterioration of general opinion of it. Nevertheless facts shows that nowhere in the world expect of Europe thought and action evolved that way to support explorers, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs at a time, and guess what religion was dominant in Europe during that time? And what religions were in other parts of the world where this have never happened?
    Excellent points.

    I also think dictating what another person can and can't be regarding their religious belief/sciencific orientation seems somewhat arrogant. I can tell you as someone that was raised with no religious faith... life in Maciamo's mind set isn't a bowl of cherries (at least it wasn't for me).

    Concepts like grace and forgiveness don't thrive in the hard, barren landscape of faithlessness-- again according to my personal experiences.
    Last edited by nordicquarreler; 15-01-14 at 04:34.

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    Hitler, Religion, and Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by matbir View Post
    Maciamo I feel strange if front of such antichristianism that you represents, ironically the rise of antichristian ideologies like national socialism in Germany and communism in Russia started killing spring of twentieth century which took lives of hundreds of millions of people in less than eighty years. I am not familiar with Karl Marx publications, so I do not know if brutality of communists was a direct results of them, but I cannot recognize him as philosopher because methodology used in his works was totally wrong which makes it unscientific. Otherwise Adolf Hitler as well could be considered as philosopher, which would be quite unfortunate.

    Some people hate Christianity so much that they attributes to it untrue characteristic only to the deterioration of general opinion of it. Nevertheless facts shows that nowhere in the world expect of Europe thought and action evolved that way to support explorers, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs at a time, and guess what religion was dominant in Europe during that time? And what religions were in other parts of the world where this have never happened?
    Actually, Hitler was a devout christian who frequently said that he was "doing the Lord's work". I know christians are generally in denial about that, but it happens to be true. I'm certainly not saying that Hitler was a typical christian - he wasn't. But he did consider himself christian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matbir View Post
    Maciamo I feel strange if front of such antichristianism that you represents, ironically the rise of antichristian ideologies like national socialism in Germany and communism in Russia started killing spring of twentieth century which took lives of hundreds of millions of people in less than eighty years. I am not familiar with Karl Marx publications, so I do not know if brutality of communists was a direct results of them, but I cannot recognize him as philosopher because methodology used in his works was totally wrong which makes it unscientific. Otherwise Adolf Hitler as well could be considered as philosopher, which would be quite unfortunate.
    Hitler was a Christian and collaborated with the Vatican. Anti-Semitism has its roots in Christianity. Nowadays it's mostly Muslims who have taken over the anti-Jewish attitude.

    Some people hate Christianity so much that they attributes to it untrue characteristic only to the deterioration of general opinion of it. Nevertheless facts shows that nowhere in the world expect of Europe thought and action evolved that way to support explorers, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs at a time, and guess what religion was dominant in Europe during that time? And what religions were in other parts of the world where this have never happened?
    I am not saying that other religions are necessarily better than Christianity. Islam is definitely worse because it promotes more vehemently violence against non-Muslims.

    We could argue than Buddhism is better than Christianity, but it's not really a religion. It doesn't have any god, nor any dogma. I regard it as a kind of spiritual philosophy.
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Wasn't hitler the one who secularized German society thus eliminating all forms of religion other than this taste for Germanic mythology and runes?

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    3 members found this post helpful.
    Hitler was not a devout christian and certainly not an ally of the Vatican. In februari 1931 the German bishops issued an edict that excommunicated leaders and members of the NSDAP. Read Ian Kershaw's book "Hitler" on it. Hint of the fierce struggle between can be found in Kershaws article for Der Spiegel on how Hitler won over the Germans:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-531909.html

    The rift between Catholics and National-Socialists can even be seen in this map 1932 showing election results. It basically is a map of religions in Germany.

    http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1081636,00.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ve...chen_Reich.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    Concepts like grace and forgiveness don't thrive in the hard, barren landscape of faithlessness-- again according to my personal experiences.
    I have been to over 50 countries, lived in 9, including Japan, and I cannot think of any national, regional or cultural group more honest, kind and altruistic than the Japanese. Yet almost all Japanese are Atheists. There are two official "religions" in Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism, but neither has any concept of personal god or heaven like in monotheistic religions, and neither have any religious dogma or moral code. Japanese people receive no religious education at school either. Yet that does not prevent Japanese society to be one of the safest in the world, despite the fact that they have very big cities and high population densities, two factors that usually correlate with increased violence in other countries. Japan is a perfect example that people can be good to each others and peaceful without any help from moralistic religions like Christianity or Islam.

    In Europe the most peaceful countries are Scandinavian countries, which also happen to be the least religious.

    In the USA, the most violent states are usually also the most religious (Bible Belt). Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia make up most of the states with the highest murder rates. These are exactly the 7 most religious US States according to a Gallup poll. In contrast, the states with the lowest murder rates also happen to be the least religious (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon). Still convinced that Christianity bring peace on Earth ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch View Post
    Hitler was not a devout christian and certainly not an ally of the Vatican. In februari 1931 the German bishops issued an edict that excommunicated leaders and members of the NSDAP. Read Ian Kershaw's book "Hitler" on it. Hint of the fierce struggle between can be found in Kershaws article for Der Spiegel on how Hitler won over the Germans:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-531909.html

    The rift between Catholics and National-Socialists can even be seen in this map 1932 showing election results. It basically is a map of religions in Germany.

    http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1081636,00.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ve...chen_Reich.jpg
    All it proves is that Protestant Germans voted more massively in favour of the NSDAP than Catholics. But that doesn't change the fact that Hitler was brought up a Catholic, and that as soon as he was elected in 1933 Hitler signed the Reichskonkordat with the Vatican that guaranteed the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. Even though he didn't respect the terms of the treaty, why did he even bother to sign such a treaty if he didn't recognise the slightest authority to the Vatican ? It shows that he considered the Vatican important and respectable enough to meet the Pope in person and show respect, despite the fact that there was absolutely no need to do it. Hitler didn't even respect the heads of states of major European countries. Why would he care at all about the Pope if he had not harboured some feelings as a Christian. Personally, as an Atheist, I don't recognise the Vatican as a political entity at all. Most of the later disputes between Hitler and the Catholic Church were political and similar in nature to two political parties arguing in parliament, except that Hitler had the majority of the votes and won every time. But for such a debate to take place both parties need to be part of the same system. What would any non-Christian country have to do with the Vatican today ? Can you sincerely imagine the Chinese or the Japanese consider the Pope's opinion in their foreign policy ? What do they care, they aren't Christian. Hitler did care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch View Post
    Hitler was not a devout christian and certainly not an ally of the Vatican. In februari 1931 the German bishops issued an edict that excommunicated leaders and members of the NSDAP. Read Ian Kershaw's book "Hitler" on it. Hint of the fierce struggle between can be found in Kershaws article for Der Spiegel on how Hitler won over the Germans:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-531909.html

    The rift between Catholics and National-Socialists can even be seen in this map 1932 showing election results. It basically is a map of religions in Germany.

    http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1081636,00.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ve...chen_Reich.jpg
    I agree. I don't see how the actual scholarship on the issue can be refuted.

    These Wiki articles provide very good links to primary sources from the time, as well as excellent historical treatments of the subject.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religio...f_Adolf_Hitler
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/19/op...ty-199125.html

    Much of this "Hitler was a Christian" material that is found on the net, un-sourced or selectively sourced and polemically driven, is produced by apologists for Nazism or for Germany. In my opinion, these attempts to place Nazism within the mainstream of European development, or to find some less specifically German sources for it, are equally attempts to lessen the blame.

    I would also recommend The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. A new edition has recently come out, because it is recognized that despite the fact that it was written soon after the war, the conclusions and the scholarship are still sound. The early sections of the book dealing with the prevalence of the old Germanic myths in the contemporary consciousness, and the almost total acceptance by the populace of the racist ideas common in the intellectual world of late 19th century Germanic circles, are particularly interesting, as is the obvious connection between these two things and the rapturous acceptance of National Socialism.

    A great many people who haven't actually studied the period in depth can be very misled.

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    You said that yourself Albanopolis's, not me. Would anyone know at what particular days or what time of day ftdna uploads it results?

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    Maciamo is right, religions are not the source of morality in societies. Religious people can be as moral as atheists, or atheists can be equally immoral as christians or muslims. It is only a dogma of every religion that they stay on guard of morality, and without them society disintegrates. It is nothing more than protective mechanism, giving fake validity to a religious institution, and not because it is true. Same as with concept of god.
    Scientists done experiments on animals about morality, and also we can look around at every country and compare morality versus religiousness level, and it all points to mostly genetic roots of morality.
    Do you want to see true morality in nature? Look at ants. They work together, they care for their young, they build their nest together, they fight together to protect their colony, they give their lives fighting the enemy. Now, can someone tell me what religion ants belong to?
    Do you want to see more morality and ethics, just look at this video how group of buffalo saves life of their member. I'm sure buffalo is not very religious either.
    Start watching from 1 min 15 sec.

    So why do they care?

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    Those members are really moral Brok

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I have been to over 50 countries, lived in 9, including Japan, and I cannot think of any national, regional or cultural group more honest, kind and altruistic than the Japanese. Yet almost all Japanese are Atheists. There are two official "religions" in Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism, but neither has any concept of personal god or heaven like in monotheistic religions, and neither have any religious dogma or moral code. Japanese people receive no religious education at school either. Yet that does not prevent Japanese society to be one of the safest in the world, despite the fact that they have very big cities and high population densities, two factors that usually correlate with increased violence in other countries. Japan is a perfect example that people can be good to each others and peaceful without any help from moralistic religions like Christianity or Islam.

    In Europe the most peaceful countries are Scandinavian countries, which also happen to be the least religious.

    In the USA, the most violent states are usually also the most religious (Bible Belt). Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia make up most of the states with the highest murder rates. These are exactly the 7 most religious US States according to a Gallup poll. In contrast, the states with the lowest murder rates also happen to be the least religious (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon). Still convinced that Christianity bring peace on Earth ?
    Maybe if it were ever actually practiced...


    Perhaps the Chinese would have a different view of the kindness of the Japanese as a people. Or perhaps the Mongols, or the Filipinos, or more specifically, in terms of China, the people who lived through The Rape of Nanking, if any still survive, or the inhabitants of Japanese prisoner of war camps.

    Picking up the garbage, forming orderly lines, and being so 'adapted' to societal norms that one never breaks them, or perhaps so afraid of societal retribution in an authoritarian society that one never breaks them, which is probably the same thing, are not necessarily indicators of "kindness" or "humaneness". Neither, of course, are chaotic, very loosely organized societies, or what might appear so to outsiders, or at least very non-authoritative societies. You can get inhuman behavior in Germany, Japan, Sudan, or Rwanda. It's just better organized and industrialized in certain countries.

    Frankly, and with all due respect for the many achievements of Japanese culture, I found the behavior of the Japanese people during the recent atomic power disaster rather disturbing. They should have been damn mad at their industrialists and their government leaders. To supinely accept these kinds of situations makes them perpetual victims of their own authoritative system.

    As for the U.S., the violence is worst in urban, mainly minority cities. In my personal opinion, one which is increasingly accepted despite the "politically correct" push back, it is the collapse of the family which is largely to blame, and this collapse, while it has been encouraged by the practices of the welfare state, also owe a great deal to the collapse of the sexual morality which used to be enforced by traditional religious beliefs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    All it proves is that Protestant Germans voted more massively in favour of the NSDAP than Catholics.
    I sincerely doubt that, especially since the above mentioned 1931 edict. I have read this in more than one history book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    But that doesn't change the fact that Hitler was brought up a Catholic, and that as soon as he was elected in 1933 Hitler signed the Reichskonkordat with the Vatican that guaranteed the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. Even though he didn't respect the terms of the treaty, why did he even bother to sign such a treaty if he didn't recognise the slightest authority to the Vatican ? It shows that he considered the Vatican important and respectable enough to meet the Pope in person and show respect, despite the fact that there was absolutely no need to do it. Hitler didn't even respect the heads of states of major European countries. Why would he care at all about the Pope if he had not harboured some feelings as a Christian. Personally, as an Atheist, I don't recognise the Vatican as a political entity at all. Most of the later disputes between Hitler and the Catholic Church were political and similar in nature to two political parties arguing in parliament, except that Hitler had the majority of the votes and won every time. But for such a debate to take place both parties need to be part of the same system. What would any non-Christian country have to do with the Vatican today ? Can you sincerely imagine the Chinese or the Japanese consider the Pope's opinion in their foreign policy ? What do they care, they aren't Christian. Hitler did care.
    He needed the entire nation behind him. Since the Reformation and as recent as during Bismarck's Kulturkrieg - Hell, even in 1931 as the edict shows! - the German nation (or nations) were fiercely divided between Protestants and Catholics. I can't recall where I heard or read it but when asked why in the first days of the first World War the Germans went to the front so cheerfully some responded that at last the divisions were gone and all were united for the grand task. So. In order to unite the people (Ein Volk) of one nation (Ein Reich) behind one leader (Ein Fuehrer) he did this.

    The Japanese did not need to: There wasn't a large and opposing Catholic number of people in their land.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I have been to over 50 countries, lived in 9, including Japan, and I cannot think of any national, regional or cultural group more honest, kind and altruistic than the Japanese. Yet almost all Japanese are Atheists. There are two official "religions" in Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism, but neither has any concept of personal god or heaven like in monotheistic religions, and neither have any religious dogma or moral code.
    There is a book about the involvement of Japanese Buddhists in the War and the atrocities of the Japanese in China: It's called "Zen at War".

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

    It builds partly on a number of books by a Japanese Buddhist writer and master called Ichikawa Hakugen who tried to investigate the role of Buddhism in the war:

    Hakugen points to twelve characteristics of Japanese Zen which have contributed to its support for Japanese militarism:[6]


    1. Subservience of Buddhism to the state.
    2. Buddhist views on humanity and society. Though "Buddhism emphasizes the equality of human beings based on their possession of a Buddha nature",[7] the doctrine of Karma has also been used as a "moral justification for social inequality".[7]
    3. protection of the state and the hierarchical social structures.
    4. Emphasis on sunyata and selflessness, "leaving no room for the independence of the individual".[8]
    5. Lack of Buddhist dogma, which left no "compelling basic dogma a believer would fight to preserve".
    6. The concept of on, "the teaching that a debt of gratitude is owed to those from whom favors are received".[10] In the case of Japanese Zen, this gratitude was also owed to the Emperor, as "the head of the entire Japanese family".[10]
    7. The belief in mutual dependency, which "led in modern Japan to an organic view of the state coupled with a feeling of intimacy towards it".[10]
    8. The doctrine of the Middle Way, which "took the form of a constant search for compromise with the aim of avoiding confrontation before it occurred".[10]
    9. The tradition of ancestor veneration, in which "the entire nation came to be regarded as one large family in which loyalty between subject and sovereign was the chief virtue".[10]
    10. The value given to "old and mature things".[11] Since society was based "on a set of ancient and immutable laws",[11] oppostion to this was unacceptable.
    11. Emphasis on inner peace, which "contributed to its failure to encourage and justify the will to reorganize society".[11]
    12. The Buddhist logic of Soku, "just as it is",[11] which leads to "a static, aesthetic perspective, a detached, subjective harmony with things".
    Especially the lack of dogma is interesting, as we in Europe would call dogma the big cause for war.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamo View Post
    Wasn't hitler the one who secularized German society thus eliminating all forms of religion other than this taste for Germanic mythology and runes?

    No. Hitler mentioned his christian beliefs in Mein Kampf and once he acheived power, emphasized what he considered to be stable christian values, officially promoting the idea that the role of women should be limited to church, children and kitchen (although that wasn't always how things worked in practice during WWII).

    Occult organizations were suppressed during the 1930s, except for those favored by some of Hitler's lieutenants, particularly Hess and Goering. Their organizations were tolerated, but Hitler himself rejected esotericism, particularly folkish esoterism. In Heinrich Heims' Adolf Hitler, Monologe im FHQ 1941-1944, Hitler is quoted as having said on 14 October 1941: "It seems to be inexpressibly stupid to allow a revival of the cult of Odin/Wotan. Our old mythology of the gods was defunct, and incapable of revival, when Christianity came...the whole world of antiquity either followed philosophical systems on the one hand, or worshipped the gods. But in modern times it is undesirable that all humanity should make such a fool of itself."

    Of course, Hitler's idea about christianity were not orthodox. Hitler favoured theologians such as Ernst Bergmann, who wanted to purge christianity of what he considered to be false Jewish aspects. And Hitler did persecute some protestant theologians, but for political reasons. He also sometimes quarrelled with the catholic church, again for political reasons but neither Hitler nor the catholic church ever completely turned against each another.

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    IMO, religiousness or lack of religiousness doesn't determine morality. I suspect that in our modern developed world, atheists and agnostics are on average, somewhat better behaved than christians, but I suspect that has to do with thoughtfulness and levels of education, rather than faith or lack of faith. I've known lots of christians who were really good people, although they tend to often be thoughtful, well educated liberal christians. The rabid believers in anything are often jerks, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Maciamo is right, religions are not the source of morality in societies. Religious people can be as moral as atheists, or atheists can be equally immoral as christians or muslims. It is only a dogma of every religion that they stay on guard of morality, and without them society disintegrates. It is nothing more than protective mechanism, giving fake validity to a religious institution, and not because it is true. Same as with concept of god.
    Scientists done experiments on animals about morality, and also we can look around at every country and compare morality versus religiousness level, and it all points to mostly genetic roots of morality.
    Do you want to see true morality in nature? Look at ants. They work together, they care for their young, they build their nest together, they fight together to protect their colony, they give their lives fighting the enemy. Now, can someone tell me what religion ants belong to?
    Do you want to see more morality and ethics, just look at this video how group of buffalo saves life of their member. I'm sure buffalo is not very religious either.
    Start watching from 1 min 15 sec.

    So why do they care?
    religion is an invention of rulers to justify their own position and to convince their subjects are one people with him as their sole ruler and protector

    look at the bible, it's an invention of some Jewish king to motivate the Jews to unite and to fight the Filistines with him as their sole ruler

    history is being distorted and fantasised in order to suit the proper story-telling

    even today some still believe they are the only 'chosen people' and they can claim the 'promised land' for themselves only

    you can make the same parallel with many other religions too

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    IMO, religiousness or lack of religiousness doesn't determine morality. I suspect that in our modern developed world, atheists and agnostics are on average, somewhat better behaved than christians, but I suspect that has to do with thoughtfulness and levels of education, rather than faith or lack of faith. I've known lots of christians who were really good people, although they tend to often be thoughtful, well educated liberal christians. The rabid believers in anything are often jerks, IMO.
    Maybe it's the circles I travel in, but I know a lot of well-educated jerks. In fact, I don't think education is much of a factor either way. Nor does education affect the logic or objectivity of people's opinions. I gave up expecting more dis-interested logic from educated people than from uneducated people a long ago. Educated people are just able to make the arguments for their pre-determined opinions sound better.

    Nor is the "jerk factor" much affected by atheism or superficial religious observance, by the way.

    What *is* surprising to me, and this is not at all addressed to Aberdeen, is the fundamental lack of knowledge about religion, either in terms of the tenets of the various dogma, the history of various religions, both specifically and in the context of secular history, and the nature of spirituality as a whole. It doesn't stop people from having vociferous if vapid opinions about it, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Perhaps the Chinese would have a different view of the kindness of the Japanese as a people. Or perhaps the Mongols, or the Filipinos, or more specifically, in terms of China, the people who lived through The Rape of Nanking, if any still survive, or the inhabitants of Japanese prisoner of war camps.

    Picking up the garbage, forming orderly lines, and being so 'adapted' to societal norms that one never breaks them, or perhaps so afraid of societal retribution in an authoritarian society that one never breaks them, which is probably the same thing, are not necessarily indicators of "kindness" or "humaneness".
    agree. I've heard all kinds of stories about Japan being so hierarchical and obedience-driven that subordinate employees, minorities, and women are routinely humiliated in various indirect forms, and they have no means of reciprocation. Many Koreans in Japan are still differentiated from mainstream society even-though they have lived there for over 200 years and there is no noticeable difference. Japanese men rarely immigrate, somehow they equate that with accepting to be second-class (the same dish that they offer foreigners there). They might not be christian or muslim but they seem to have their own set of dished-out rules that they follow even more blindly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    religion is an invention of rulers to justify their own position and to convince their subjects are one people with him as their sole ruler and protector
    look at the bible, it's an invention of some Jewish king to motivate the Jews to unite and to fight the Filistines with him as their sole ruler
    history is being distorted and fantasised in order to suit the proper story-telling
    even today some still believe they are the only 'chosen people' and they can claim the 'promised land' for themselves only
    you can make the same parallel with many other religions too
    It is being estimated that Aboriginals arrived in Australia around 70.000 to 60.000 years ago. They were basically separated from the rest of mankind ever since. The religion of the Aboriginals has all the elements that modern religions have: Creation myth, Gods and spirits, an afterlife. Are you seriously trying to tell me that a number of "rulers" invented this - more than 70.000 years ago - and this invention to rule remains intact for over 70.000 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Maybe it's the circles I travel in, but I know a lot of well-educated jerks. In fact, I don't think education is much of a factor either way. Nor does education affect the logic or objectivity of people's opinions. I gave up expecting more dis-interested logic from educated people than from uneducated people a long ago. Educated people are just able to make the arguments for their pre-determined opinions sound better.

    Nor is the "jerk factor" much affected by atheism or superficial religious observance, by the way.

    What *is* surprising to me, and this is not at all addressed to Aberdeen, is the fundamental lack of knowledge about religion, either in terms of the tenets of the various dogma, the history of various religions, both specifically and in the context of secular history, and the nature of spirituality as a whole. It doesn't stop people from having vociferous if vapid opinions about it, of course.
    I do think that education, in the liberal arts sense, can often be a civilizing force, although it's not infallible.

    I'm not quite sure how you've determined that people who disagree with your views on one particular religion lack knowledge about religion, whether christian or other. If you want to consider the views of atheists and agnostics to be "vapid", you're entitled to your opinion, but I've known many atheists and agnostics who know far more about religion than most religious believers. That's certainly not true of all unbelievers and sceptics, as bicicleur has just demonstrated for us, but I think it's generally true.

    However, this is getting off the subject of the thread a bit. After due consideration, I decided that Germany's greatest contribution to the world is good beer, even though they have to share that glory with the Dutch and Flemish (who are, after all, sort of Germans). And maybe the Bavarian invention of Octoberfest should be mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    I do think that education, in the liberal arts sense, can often be a civilizing force, although it's not infallible.

    I'm not quite sure how you've determined that people who disagree with your views on one particular religion lack knowledge about religion, whether christian or other. If you want to consider the views of atheists and agnostics to be "vapid", you're entitled to your opinion, but I've known many atheists and agnostics who know far more about religion than most religious believers. That's certainly not true of all unbelievers and sceptics, as bicicleur has just demonstrated for us, but I think it's generally true.

    However, this is getting off the subject of the thread a bit. After due consideration, I decided that Germany's greatest contribution to the world is good beer, even though they have to share that glory with the Dutch and Flemish (who are, after all, sort of Germans). And maybe the Bavarian invention of Octoberfest should be mentioned.
    You're assuming too much, Aberdeen. That was an equal opportunity put down, and, as I said, not at all addressed to you. The days when any decent number of Christians or Jews in western society actually knew anything at all about their religions are long gone.

    But you're right, this discussion is off topic here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    religion is an invention of rulers to justify their own position and to convince their subjects are one people with him as their sole ruler and protector
    look at the bible, it's an invention of some Jewish king to motivate the Jews to unite and to fight the Filistines with him as their sole ruler
    history is being distorted and fantasised in order to suit the proper story-telling
    even today some still believe they are the only 'chosen people' and they can claim the 'promised land' for themselves only
    you can make the same parallel with many other religions too
    Let me make an analogy: Football was not invented to give the masses games to control them. Football was invented as a fun game. And even if mass sports are supposed to be a good way to control the population, it would never have worked unless the sports weren't so massively popular. And even if dictators like to use sports as a way to "give them bread and games" the outcome is never sure, as the existence of football riots in the former Soviet-Union may show.

    Yet you want me to believe something that is similar to the idea that some one invented football to control the masses.

    EDIT: Yes, this is getting off topic.

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