Another Religiously-Motivated Bombing

I’ll pop out of retirement for a moment to make sure that more people see this story.

Who’s the conflict between? Hindus and Muslims. Tell me, without religion, would these train bombings have occurred?


15 Responses to Another Religiously-Motivated Bombing

  1. I have my own theory on this.

    Too many religious people are certifiably insane.

  2. poppies says:

    Take a look at this Wikipedia article on genocides in recent history. You’d have to do some pretty impressive apologetic acrobatics to link a majority of these butchering sessions to religion. It seems that man will kill with religion or without it.

    Since it also seems that great influence is a typical desire for great murderers, and religion can provide means to such a goal, I ask, is it utterly inconceivable that those who murder in the name of religion may not be very religious at all?

    Let’s turn away from religion-bashing, and instead focus on demonizing automobile drivers. Car accidents kill far more people than religious terrorists. 😉

  3. poppies: No, actually, we won’t turn away from religion bashing.

    Read this, and think about it. Wrongs committed by non-theists do not excuse or diminish the wrongs committed in the name of religion. Without religion, religiously motivated wrongs simply would not occur. The fact that other wrongs would occur actually has no bearing on the argument.

    Your statement is akin to being pulled over for speeding and telling the officer, “but the other guy was speeding too!” It doesn’t change the fact that you were in the wrong.

  4. poppies says:

    You missed my point completely.

    I saw your argument as: evil things have been done by religious people, which shows we’d be better off without religion.

    I’m saying evil things have been done by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, showing that it’s not the label (religious, secular, artistic, communist, animal rights activist, etc.) that creates the evil, but the values of the people performing the acts. These values aren’t always born from the label, which is why some religious people are violent and heartless and others are kind and thoughtful. There are lots more religious people than there are, say, animal rights activists, which is why there are more violent acts commited in the name of religion than PETA.

    I’m not trying to excuse evil acts, I’m horrified by the bombing, but I am trying to point out the fallacy in using it to paint religion with a broad brush.

    Your statement is akin to saying no one should drive cars since some drivers speed.

  5. poppies: I didn’t miss your point at all.

    There are a ton of problems with faith-based religion. This is just one of those problems. The biggest problem, though, is faith.

    The idea that you should believe something, that it’s a virtue to believe something despite the absence of evidence for, or worse, presence of evidence against that thing, is the problem. This is most certainly not limited to religion. However, pretty much anything superstitious or paranormal fits that description. There are people honestly offering tons of money, US$1M in the case of the skeptic/magician James Randi, for proof of supernatural (i.e. psychic or prophetic) ability.

    Nobody has claimed it. In fact, he’s now in the process of “hunting down” and calling out such people on national television, because they won’t step up to the plate for the $1M on their own.

    Once you believe that what an unsubstantiated religious text says is true, the road to what religious leaders can convince you of is potentially nearly limitless. Is it any wonder, then, that some young men could be promised a harem of virgins in heaven in exchange for their worldly lives, and believe it?

    Finally, there is something that’s almost unique to religion, though there may be exceptions. For most of the major religions in the world, the other religions are considered wrong. It’s written in the texts. Some moderates ignore it and get along with each other, but it’s there.

    There is no way to bridge that divide. The other people will always be wrong, and it will be because a book (with no evidence) says so.

    Even communism and capitalism, two socioeconomic systems that clash even to this day, are subject to the constraints of evidence. Some people said communism was the way to go, others said it was capitalism. Years and years later, we’ve now seen which systems lead to prosperity and which lead to ruin.

    While we’re seeing that many religions can lead to ruin, we’ll still never see evidence of which religion’s claims to “Truth” are correct*, and which aren’t. It’ll always be about indoctrination.

    * Except claims about the physical world and history of the universe. Those we can find to be wrong, and have.

  6. poppies says:

    Wow, that was a sharp rhetorical left turn.

    Anyway, I applaud your desire to have people base their views on reasonable, substantive evidence. Clearly we’re quite divergent in where we feel the available evidence points, but I have much more respect for someone who appeals to evidence to back up their beliefs that differ from mine than someone who believes as I do but unquestioningly, blindly.

    I assure you, however, that not all religious folk come to their beliefs through indoctrination and blind faith. I stand as a skeptical, critical example.

  7. poppies: Two things.

    1. I’m sorry, I never did relate my rhetorical left turn back to the original topic. Because there is no way to resolve which religion is correct, people turn to violence and indoctrination to settle and avoid their differences, respectively.

    2. Please share whatever compelling evidence you have that turned you from your atheist ways, if you do remain skeptical and critical.

  8. poppies says:

    It’s my personal policy to only talk about religious evidence with people who I’m reasonably certain are interested, open-minded, and rational . Life’s too short, ya know?

    As I haven’t had time to more fully read through your interesting blog, I can’t yet determine if I’d be wasting your time or mine. I’ll try and read it more regularly and chime in.

  9. poppies: As you may notice at the top of this post, I actually “retired” from updating this blog for the most part.

  10. poppies says:

    I’m aware, I just mean I’ll have to come back on a more regular basis to go through all the prior posts. It’s too bad you’ve retired from this, it seemed like a fascinating blog.

  11. Kullervo says:

    Religion is a part of culture. And people kill over culture. It’s an others-are-different, protect-my-way-of-life, threatened-by-the-other, I-look-out-for-the-best-interests-of-my-people, limited-resources, I-fear-that-which-I-do-not-control thing and it’s as old as humanity.

    It’s called tribalism, and eradicating religion would only eliminate a pretext for the violence.

  12. Kullervo: “eradicating religion would only eliminate a pretext for the violence.”

    Yes, and once that pretext is removed we could address the next layer. I maintain my stance that faith-based religion presents an impenetrable barrier to resolution, because there can be no basis on which to reach agreement. I also reiterate that even if faith-based religion were not the cause of such violence, there would still be plenty of other reasons to abandon it — not the least of which being that it has no basis in reality.

    The greeks were the first (in the West) to leave tribalism behind, and while there will always be those that encourage a return to tribalism (religious fundamentalists especially) we no longer live in a tribal society. We live in a democracy. Show me a modern tribe, and I will show you a loose affiliation of people that could also each be said to belong to any number of other such “tribes”.

  13. rescuingreason: I think you make some valid points. There are people who use religion as a pretext for their psychotic actions. Since I’m a Christian pastor I’ll only speak about the failure of some Christians.

    What if in the religion you were told to love others? What if you were told that the only way to faithfully follow and obey God was to sacrifice your very life to save the next person? What if you were told to share all you have so that none would go hungry, homeless or cold? What if you were taught that war was wrong and totally against the plan of God? What if you were taught that the way to lead was to be a servant? What if in order to get ahead you should point out the better points of the next person?

    Should the religion be tossed? Or should its adherents start doing its freaking homework and do what they were told?

    I know that we Christians have a very dark history doing exactly what you are talking about. Look at the Crusades. Look at the Inquisition. Look at what we did to the native cultures of North and South America when we brought the “Gospel.” Not all were bad, evil people, but there were too many who forced conversion. Should I attribute this to the religion or bad adherents?

    Watch the movie “The End Of The Spear.” Not all of us want to kill. Many of us were/are killed in the process of serving, not shooting. Many of us would die right now if it meant helping others find hope and meaning to life.

  14. thegreatdance:
    Where are you people coming from? This blog hasn’t been updated in almost a year, not counting this post. It’s been everything but abandoned for two reasons.

    1. I was invited to continue similar posts elsewhere. I’ve done this a little.
    2. I realized that I was wasting my time. Look at the comments on this thread. Constant apologetics, never actually addressing my points.

    As of right now, I’m shutting down commenting on this blog. It’s a fossil. Go find someone else to harass.

  15. […] April 2nd, 2007 There is a fascinating debate over religion and violence going on at Rescuing Reason’s place: […]

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