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Old 06-26-2019, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Michigan
29 posts, read 6,010 times
Reputation: 87

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Hi,
I am relatively new to these boards and I saw a thread "Why Religion is Dangerous" Mod note: (Referenced thread is in Atheism and Agnosticism) and I wanted to give a contrasting viewpoint.

I am nervous as I type, I feel a bit like Daniel in the Lion's Den.

For starters I want to say that me being a Christian (Quaker) and you being atheist doesn't make me a better person nor does it make me more loved by God. He loves us equally.

Okay here it goes...

Peace...

Every meeting house I have ever been involved with teaches non-violence. In this modern world with technological weapons can kill millions the choice is not between violence and pacifism it is between non-violence and non-existence. Jesus teaches us non-violence and turning the other cheek, living in harmony. We need more Jesus, not less. Meeting houses teach us to be a peacekeeper in our own corner of the world and to push pacifism or non-violence globally.

Inner Harmony...

As an 18 year old girl, I have a lot of stressers and self-doubt. But George Fox taught us to find that bit of God in us all by being silent and listening to that innervoice. It is very soothing and warming in times of stress.

Equality...

Religion teaches us that we are created equally. That we are all a reflection of God's image, stressing that equality. Meeting houses fought for women's suffrage and abolition, because of that equality. Seneca Falls Convention was hosted by a Quaker church. Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Lucretia Mott, and Carrier Chapman Catt are just some of the Quakers who were leaders that fought for suffrage for women in a non-violent fashion with dignity and self-sacrifice.

Service...

Religion teaches us to serve in the community in all sorts of ways. We are always encouraged to do and share.

Purity...

My meeting house stresses avoiding alcohol, illegal drugs, cigarettes, etc...something that is healthy physically and mentally. My father turned his back on God becoming an atheist after my mother died and then started drinking and gambling, which led to bad consequences for him.

Business...

We are encouraged to try hard, be a self-starter, start your own...this leads to success.

Family...

Everyone in the meeting house is like a family and will help and serve each other. We hit hard financial straits when my dad was struggling and I recieved constant help from my Friends.


Please don't hate me...I also realize that I am young and not that smart...I just wanted to make a reply to that other thread and have been thinking on this patiently for a couple of days.

Nothing but love for all of you as you go through life.

I will leave this here and just listen to replies without posting arguments in return. As religion has taught me there is wisdom in listening and using fewer words.

Last edited by Mightyqueen801; 06-26-2019 at 12:46 PM.. Reason: For clarification - this thread was moved from A&A
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,814 posts, read 18,549,595 times
Reputation: 18647
I have not seen anyone here who has written that religion is exclusively dangerous and has never generated any benefits of any kind. I have seen numerous posts from people who keep writing as though that has been the position being taken by the majority of posters in this forum.

I think overall, visitors spend more time arguing against things which they imagine atheists think, than against the things we actually write. It must be Don Quixote syndrome, no real enemies in sight, so that windmill must be transformed into an evil monster.

I also feel annoyed at having to once again point out that despite having no religious beliefs, I behave in a manner which is pretty much indistinguishable morally from the believers. We both have our good and bad moments.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
22,437 posts, read 10,385,168 times
Reputation: 20299
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuakerBaker View Post
Hi,
...

Peace...

Every meeting house I have ever been involved with teaches non-violence. In this modern world with technological weapons can kill millions the choice is not between violence and pacifism it is between non-violence and non-existence. Jesus teaches us non-violence and turning the other cheek, living in harmony. We need more Jesus, not less. Meeting houses teach us to be a peacekeeper in our own corner of the world and to push pacifism or non-violence globally.

...

Equality...

Religion teaches us that we are created equally. That we are all a reflection of God's image, stressing that equality. Meeting houses fought for women's suffrage and abolition, because of that equality. Seneca Falls Convention was hosted by a Quaker church. Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Lucretia Mott, and Carrier Chapman Catt are just some of the Quakers who were leaders that fought for suffrage for women in a non-violent fashion with dignity and self-sacrifice.

Service...

Religion teaches us to serve in the community in all sorts of ways. We are always encouraged to do and share.

Purity...

My meeting house stresses avoiding alcohol, illegal drugs, cigarettes, etc...something that is healthy physically and mentally. My father turned his back on God becoming an atheist after my mother died and then started drinking and gambling, which led to bad consequences for him.

Business...

We are encouraged to try hard, be a self-starter, start your own...this leads to success.

Family...

Everyone in the meeting house is like a family and will help and serve each other. We hit hard financial straits when my dad was struggling and I recieved constant help from my Friends.


Please don't hate me...I also realize that I am young and not that smart...I just wanted to make a reply to that other thread and have been thinking on this patiently for a couple of days.

Nothing but love for all of you as you go through life.

I will leave this here and just listen to replies without posting arguments in return. As religion has taught me there is wisdom in listening and using fewer words.
Peace does not require Jesus. War has often used Jesus.

And yet groups like the KKK use religion.

I know atheists who volunteer every bit as much as the average christian.

I'm an atheist. I don't drink. I don't do illegal drugs. I don't smoke. On the other hand, there was a great deal of alcoholism in my family and they were all church-goers to one degree or another.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:30 AM
Status: "We The North" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
25,752 posts, read 13,395,224 times
Reputation: 11666
I think the OP's subject line is a little overstated. Religion may be benign. It may be helpful for some. It may be a pit of despair for others.

On the whole, I don't think you'll find many unbelievers/agnostics/atheists who are troubled by Quakers. They are among the least judgmental sub-sects of Christianity.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,001 posts, read 54,493,040 times
Reputation: 66349
Moved from A&A
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,511 posts, read 8,751,470 times
Reputation: 12192
OP, practicing your religion makes you a happier person. What else do you want?
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,001 posts, read 54,493,040 times
Reputation: 66349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frihed89 View Post
OP, practicing your religion makes you a happier person. What else do you want?
I am guessing "to be heard/read". Isn't that why most people post on message boards?
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Old 06-26-2019, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,342 posts, read 2,971,301 times
Reputation: 2026
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuakerBaker View Post
Hi,
I am relatively new to these boards and I saw a thread "Why Religion is Dangerous" Mod note: (Referenced thread is in Atheism and Agnosticism) and I wanted to give a contrasting viewpoint.

I am nervous as I type, I feel a bit like Daniel in the Lion's Den.

For starters I want to say that me being a Christian (Quaker) and you being atheist doesn't make me a better person nor does it make me more loved by God. He loves us equally.

Okay here it goes...

Peace...

Every meeting house I have ever been involved with teaches non-violence. In this modern world with technological weapons can kill millions the choice is not between violence and pacifism it is between non-violence and non-existence. Jesus teaches us non-violence and turning the other cheek, living in harmony. We need more Jesus, not less. Meeting houses teach us to be a peacekeeper in our own corner of the world and to push pacifism or non-violence globally.

Inner Harmony...

As an 18 year old girl, I have a lot of stressers and self-doubt. But George Fox taught us to find that bit of God in us all by being silent and listening to that innervoice. It is very soothing and warming in times of stress.

Equality...

Religion teaches us that we are created equally. That we are all a reflection of God's image, stressing that equality. Meeting houses fought for women's suffrage and abolition, because of that equality. Seneca Falls Convention was hosted by a Quaker church. Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Lucretia Mott, and Carrier Chapman Catt are just some of the Quakers who were leaders that fought for suffrage for women in a non-violent fashion with dignity and self-sacrifice.

Service...

Religion teaches us to serve in the community in all sorts of ways. We are always encouraged to do and share.

Purity...

My meeting house stresses avoiding alcohol, illegal drugs, cigarettes, etc...something that is healthy physically and mentally. My father turned his back on God becoming an atheist after my mother died and then started drinking and gambling, which led to bad consequences for him.

Business...

We are encouraged to try hard, be a self-starter, start your own...this leads to success.

Family...

Everyone in the meeting house is like a family and will help and serve each other. We hit hard financial straits when my dad was struggling and I recieved constant help from my Friends.


Please don't hate me...I also realize that I am young and not that smart...I just wanted to make a reply to that other thread and have been thinking on this patiently for a couple of days.

Nothing but love for all of you as you go through life.

I will leave this here and just listen to replies without posting arguments in return. As religion has taught me there is wisdom in listening and using fewer words.
There are also things we can learn from you, so I'd like it if you respond. Also, of course, I think we learn a lot from talking back and forth.


I'll definitely acknowledge that cultures often have positive influences on people. Your culture appears to have some pretty positive aspects to it. However, I can think of reasons to behave in all the positive ways you suggested that don't depend on any religious beliefs.


On the con side though...I'm concerned about the survival of humanity. I also used to have Tourette's syndrome, and my father developed spinal cancer (It's gone now and he's walking again) but during the course of his treatment he developed steroid psychosis and threw a laptop. He was not in his right mind. My surrogate uncle, right now, has frontal lobe dementia.


Under my worldview, those sorts of unfortunate events do not surprise me. I perceive them as just random aspects of life that aren't anyone's fault. I can look at them as simple obstacles to be overcome.

I know some God-believers explain those events as occurring because life is a test - a difficult test. I know some God-believers explain those events by viewing the world as a fallen place...but if God really is omnipotent and omniscient, I don't know what good that sort of stuff could serve. I think people have three choices for dealing with that prospect, if they believe in a God, and I don't there are other rational choices:

Choice #1: You can perceive God as morally flawed.
Choice #2: You can perceive God as not completely omniscient or omnipotent.
Choice #3: You can just not think about this much and hope for the best.

The first two options, I'd think, make God no longer a perfect, parental figure. In my mind that takes away religion's main advantage over atheism - potential comfort.
The third option requires not seeing reality as clearly as possible, which is my primary concern about religion. In a democratic society I'd like people to see the world as clearly as possible so they're informed, clever voters who elect informed, clever people.

Furthermore, in my opinion the Abrahamic faiths do not tell of rational views of the world. They tempt people to hold their views though, through temptations such as wanting to fit in to one's community of believers, or wanting of answers to the world's difficult questions, questions which can often be answered without religion...but it might take some thought to do so, perhaps uncomfortable thought. That's without the risk of hell for nonbelief and gain of Heaven for belief that many views tell of. It's also without the perception of a God that is offended by nonbelief, which can be another incentive.

So, in my mind, most religion tempts people to perceive the world in an inaccurate way, which has negative consequences. If I don't see the world the way it is, that may dramatically effect my life goals.

I can think of some exceptions - religious views I don't see as harmful...but that's because people with those views tend to be the agnostics or agnostic theists who focus most on the physical world we know exists, and so don't really see things much differently than atheists, in most important ways. Even some of those views might bias people in some unexpected ways. It just depends on what the views are. I want aging cured, for example. I can think of many pretty seemingly benign religions that tell of an afterlife. If we cure aging, and those religions give people incentive not to have their aging cured...they may stop being benign religions and turn into ones that dramatically effect people's lives in negative ways due to a lack of understanding.

But, the primary harm I see to most religion is that I think most of it's untrue...at least if it tells of a God who rules over the universe with the sorts of characteristics that are described in the Abrahamic texts. You, apparently disagree and so have considerably less reason to view religion as harmful.

I will say, though, Quakerism is one of those religions I view as not concerning...but that's because it seems pretty close to atheism to me, just maybe a more organized version of it with more social supports than can currently exist amongst atheists and agnostics due to our low numbers.


There's a cognitive scientist and philosopher, who is also a pretty well-known atheist who you may have heard of named Daniel Dennett who likes the idea of creating atheist social structures so we're not so reliant on religious ones. Many atheists are more into being more individualistic than that...but I kind of like the idea of there being atheistic cultures with healthy forms of peer pressure and social support. When I think of what that might look like, I don't think of it as too different from this website's description of Quakerism: https://www.learnreligions.com/quake...actices-701370 I might change my mind if I learned more about it though. I really don't know much more about it than what I briefly read on that website and your description of it.

I do think there is a lot of religious belief out there that isn't like Quakerism though...that's a lot more authoritarian.


The flaws you seem to have associated with a lack of religion - the "abandoning of God" that your father went through, look to me more like the abandoning of a healthy culture than the abandoning of God. Religion often goes hand-in-hand with culture, but in my mind religion is often a misleading side-effect of that.


I think a lot of purely cultural Jews might have the right idea. They've kept the healthy culture and relationships with people they care about, but they don't believe in the religion. That said I don't know a huge amount about Judaism.


Even culture, though, can be a mixture of pros and cons. I really don't like much of the culture I see. I feel like it encourages too much emotion-driven idealism, mostly. I could get more specific, but that'll take awhile.
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Old 06-26-2019, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
22,437 posts, read 10,385,168 times
Reputation: 20299
Interesting discussion.
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Old 06-26-2019, 03:12 PM
 
10,522 posts, read 15,567,026 times
Reputation: 11832
Why would I hate you?
Your intentions are pure... and naive.
People are not born equal.
Aue contraire, they are ALL born different, with different headstart, both physical, financial, social, cultural, ethnic, political, add to this what I missed. But even under circumstance of all other variables equalized, they are all born different physically, what is proven beyond any doubt and, as such, they all can pursue only different - limited - walks of life.



All your meeting needs to teach is self - awareness. Aware person simply is not capable of all the other "bad things" you described.



Religion is needed for reason simple. Without a religion, humanity will destroy itself fast and furious, sunk in bacchanalia of indulgence and violence. Religion is a limiting factor, to a certain point.

Unless, society is composed of fully self aware members - and only then they are self limiting themselves naturally, without any need for external deterring factor, like religion. Or Law. Or diseases.
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