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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:06 AM

Some Religionists are Wonderful People. Others Are Not.

And that's the bottom line. Some atheists are also wonderful people, and some are not.

It's all about people, not religious beliefs.

Stories about one group or individual doing nice or awful things have nothing to do with what religion they follow or whether they follow any religion at all. It's all people doing things.

We can address specific denominations and sects of various religions, based on their dogmas and teaching, of course. But, there is nothing that can be universally said about any religion, in terms of how it behaves. People do things. It is the people we should focus on, not the generic name of the religion they follow, nor the fact that they follow no religion at all.

All squares are rectangles. The converse is not true.

All Popes are Catholic. The converse is not true.

Basically, it is that simple, really. Look at the actions of individuals and small groups of individuals. That will tell you their character and reveal whatever their ethical compass is. The broader labels of religion are worthless in describing the people who follow that faith or no faith at all.

Some people are wonderful people, regardless of the religion they follow or do not follow. Other people are not, with the same description.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Some Religionists are Wonderful People. Others Are Not. (Original post)
MineralMan Sep 2017 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Sep 2017 #1
MineralMan Sep 2017 #2
trotsky Sep 2017 #3
MineralMan Sep 2017 #4
trotsky Sep 2017 #5
MineralMan Sep 2017 #6
trotsky Sep 2017 #7
MineralMan Sep 2017 #8
trotsky Sep 2017 #9
MineralMan Sep 2017 #10
trotsky Sep 2017 #11
MineralMan Sep 2017 #12
trotsky Sep 2017 #13
MineralMan Sep 2017 #14
trotsky Sep 2017 #15
MineralMan Sep 2017 #16
trotsky Sep 2017 #17
Voltaire2 Sep 2017 #19
guillaumeb Sep 2017 #18

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:15 AM

1. Religion doesn't make good people good

although it can encourage them and give them a vehicle for doing good things. Religion does not make bad people bad, either; but it can give them an excuse to do bad things that they claim "god" wants them to do. Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama probably would have been good people if they'd grown up Methodist or Muslim or nothing at all. Pat Robertson and others of his ilk probably would have been assholes in any religious tradition, or none at all; as religionists they merely use God as their excuse to be a dick.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:16 AM

2. Exactly.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:21 AM

3. Are some Nazis wonderful people?

Personally, I don't think it's so simple that certain people would have always been "bad" no matter what they were taught.

Abusers were generally brought up in abusive households, for instance.

There are bad ideas and bad examples, and when those are taught to children, they definitely help shape the adult that child becomes.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:22 AM

4. That's not a religion.

Wonderful people did not become Nazis, I'd say.

The rest of your post is about individuals, which is what I said. I said nothing about how people are born. Of course people's ethics are products of their environment and what they have learned.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:25 AM

5. "Wonderful people did not become Nazis, I'd say."

Was Robert Byrd a wonderful person? He became a klansman.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:27 AM

6. No, he was not.

Why do you ask? I did not claim he was. In fact, I did not mention him at all.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #6)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:45 AM

7. I'm just trying to follow your reasoning.

Robert Byrd renounced his klan days and became a fighter for civil rights in the Senate.

So he wasn't wonderful? He was bad because he was in the klan?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 12:49 PM

8. One interesting thing about people is that they can change

their moral compass, if they choose to do so. Choosing to join the Klan is a choice. Generally, people who do that are already racists. If Byrd changed his opinion on all that, then he changed it.

It is actions people take that are the measure, as I said in the OP, not what memberships they have. One cannot join the Klan without knowing what it represents. If Byrd changed his opinions to be counter to the Klan's beliefs, then he would have to leave that organization.

Individuals. Beliefs. Behaviors. Measure the person.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #8)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 01:59 PM

9. "Choosing to join the Klan is a choice. Generally, people who do that are already racists."

So he was born a racist, then?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:02 PM

10. Nope. He became one. And later, apparently, he stopped

being one. Human beings change. I'm not going to get into a nature or nurture discussion in this thread. Not a chance. Racism is not genetic. It is learned. What has been learned can be unlearned.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:03 PM

11. Why did he become a racist?

Was it taught to him?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #11)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:05 PM

12. No doubt. But I do not know him, nor do I know

anything about his upbringing. I do know that racism is not an inborn trait, so yes, he learned it, from someone or from the society he was part of.

He apparently had a change of heart, although I'm not that familiar with his story, really.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:06 PM

13. So we don't know what kind of person he would have been, if he hadn't been taught to be a racist.

Is that a correct summary?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:09 PM

14. We can only know a person by observing that person's behavior

over a period of time. I'm not sure what the point of this is, really. People are as they behave. Why they behave in certain ways is often difficult to know. This has nothing to do with my original post, however, so I'm not going to continue this line of discussion with you.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:10 PM

15. The point is, your OP said:

"It's all about people, not religious beliefs."

But if someone is *taught* something bad, like racism for instance, it's not really about the person, but what they were taught, probably at a young, formative age. Do you agree or disagree?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #15)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:19 PM

16. Last post.

My belief is that adults can and do determine their own beliefs. If someone is a racist, that is that person's choice as an adult. Children are what they are taught. Adults can and must take responsibility for their adult beliefs.

I am not the person I was as a child. I have formed my own world view and ethical compass as an adult. I continue to change my opinions through learning and consideration. I hope to continue that process throughout my life.

I do not know Robert Byrd, who is the example you have been using. I know of him. So, I am unqualified to discuss why he held the views he held or what was the source of them. To do that would require speculation without information.

People often have religious beliefs at one time, and discard them as nonsense at some point. I'm one of those people. As I reached adulthood, I used reason to examine my beliefs, because I was able to do that.

However, I've known religious people who were wonderful people, as I said. I've also known religious people who were awful people. Both claimed to follow their religious beliefs.

The same is true of non-believers I know. I'm sure you also know people, both religious and non-religious who are wonderful and awful.

I judge people, based on what they say and do, not on what they profess to believe. I will continue to do that, but I've never met Robert Byrd, so there's little I can say about him as a person. Is he an acquaintance of yours?

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:45 PM

17. I completely disagree.

I think that what people are taught - particularly in their formative years - can become so ingrained (especially if they are simultaneously taught not to question it) that they aren't as capable of discarding that teaching as an adult. I don't think it's nearly as simple as you are making it out to be.

Robert Byrd was from West Virginia, and served as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from 1953-1959, and then as Senator from 1959-2010 when he died.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 06:20 PM

19. Martin Heidigger

One of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, one of the founders of phenomenology, became a nazi for a while, and after the war was over, never really either apologized or explained why he had did this.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 06:16 PM

18. Recommended, and agreed. eom

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