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> Religion is Unethical, Concrete example.
Rick
post Jan 07, 2008, 04:55 PM
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Religionists are fond of the saying "there are no atheists in fox holes." The idea being that a person of integrity in other matters will be so frightened of being killed that he will suddenly be converted to religion and start praying to God to save his sorry ass.

However, if you should ever find yourself in a fox hole (or on patrol in Iraq), you had better pray that your squad leader is not religious. Here's why:

A True Believer thinks that a soldier can't really be killed. That is, when the bullet causes the soldier to take his last breath, he is miraculously transported to a heavenly existence where (under the right conditions) he will enjoy blissful life in the company of various angels and gods for the rest of eternity. Therefore, the believer thinks, killing someone could actually be doing him a favor.

Wouldn't such a true believing squad leader be tempted to take unnecessary chances with the lives of his men? Further, knowing that, wouldn't it be unethical for a superior officer to assign such a believer to command troops in battle?
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maximus242
post Jan 07, 2008, 08:33 PM
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Hmm this is a tricky subject, in Tibet they are killing monks for spreading their "poision". It's hard to say, philosophically the Tibetans are very advanced, while the rest of their society may be impoverished. Their theories about consciousness and theories of mind are supposed to be profound.

I don't agree with what they are doing to the monks in China, I may not wish to be a Buddhist but I do think they have the right to believe in what they want.

I think the hard thing about religion is that it has a way of taking over entire countries and swallowing them whole. If it had less potential for abuse things would not be so bad.
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trojan_libido
post Jan 08, 2008, 04:05 AM
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I think the problem is that China wishes to remain a Totalatarian country, and that means self-enlightenment and realisation is probably the least wanted thing that Tibets could be offering. Tibet are having a terrible time and its one peaceful religion that I actually have time for. The chinese are building a railway over the Himalayas that has a shelf life of no more than five years because of the movement of the mountains. The cost to the Chinese is astronomical, and the benefits are very small. But they are using this railway to effectively eradicate Tibet, breeding out the people and ideas and bringing in outside cultures.

Getting back to the topic, I would not like to have a commanding officer who was trying to die honourably in war to enjoy 72 virgins or enter Valhallah.
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Cassox
post Jan 08, 2008, 04:18 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jan 07, 2008, 01:55 PM) *

Religionists are fond of the saying "there are no atheists in fox holes." The idea being that a person of integrity in other matters will be so frightened of being killed that he will suddenly be converted to religion and start praying to God to save his sorry ass.

However, if you should ever find yourself in a fox hole (or on patrol in Iraq), you had better pray that your squad leader is not religious. Here's why:

A True Believer thinks that a soldier can't really be killed. That is, when the bullet causes the soldier to take his last breath, he is miraculously transported to a heavenly existence where (under the right conditions) he will enjoy blissful life in the company of various angels and gods for the rest of eternity. Therefore, the believer thinks, killing someone could actually be doing him a favor.

Wouldn't such a true believing squad leader be tempted to take unnecessary chances with the lives of his men? Further, knowing that, wouldn't it be unethical for a superior officer to assign such a believer to command troops in battle?



The ethics of religion are difficult to argue. We'd first have to digress to definitions. For this, we'd need to digress into basic philosophy. It seems an infinite regress hindered by semantics and the limitations of language.

Basically, what is the definition of a "true beleiver?" Religion is so damn interpretive that most people feel they are "true beleivers." Does it mean that they adhere dogmatically to a specific text? Can't another state that the bible is meant to be interpreted, not taken literally and blow the literalist definition of "true beleiver" out of the water?

Moreover, what are ethics? Even the Aristotlian/Socratic positions would point towards the "true beleiver" as being ethical. If ethics (socratic) are agreements between men, and the majority of men (which is true in the shiny ol' USA) are christian, then their shared majority viewpoint of ethics means to die is right. If ethics are arbitrary man made constructs, then they are being ethical by majority. If ethics are a system of right action based on some god given rules, then once again, they are ethical.

It's not that christianity is neccesarilly unethical. It's that there are too many ignorant shit-kickers that have never really taken the time to question their beleifs. If one really studies the Bible, it's pretty apparent that it's not a book of love and happiness. The Christian God may be ethical ( in a self-consistent definition way, like he does what he say is ethical) but he's just not the kind of guy I'd really want to spend eternity with.
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Rick
post Jan 08, 2008, 04:46 PM
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QUOTE(Cassox @ Jan 08, 2008, 01:18 PM) *
The ethics of religion are difficult to argue. ... most people feel they are "true beleivers."

Ethics in general are hard to argue, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I've known a number of people who felt they would be better people if they believed better, but they just couldn't bring themselves to have faith in something seemingly impossible.

Certain harms are inevitable and some can be prevented. That leads to the basic structure of my ethics. To be ethical, an act must not reasonably lead to an unnecessary harm. Having people around causing destruction due to their false beliefs is unnecessary. Either restrain them somehow or hope they change their beliefs.
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Cassox
post Jan 08, 2008, 04:53 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jan 08, 2008, 01:46 PM) *

QUOTE(Cassox @ Jan 08, 2008, 01:18 PM) *
The ethics of religion are difficult to argue. ... most people feel they are "true beleivers."

Ethics in general are hard to argue, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I've known a number of people who felt they would be better people if they believed better, but they just couldn't bring themselves to have faith in something seemingly impossible.

Certain harms are inevitable and some can be prevented. That leads the basic structure of my ethics. To be ethical, an act must not reasonably lead to an unnecessary harm. People causing destruction due to their false beliefs is unnecessary. Either restrain them somehow or hope they change their beliefs.


Hmmm. That seems to me not exactly to be ethics. More like virtues? Like self-lessness and compassion. I definitely agree it's a better way to live. I do agree with your point, but am arguing the wording. I could agree that the Christian religion is non-virtuous. Even people doing "good deeds" are trying to buy an admission ticket.
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Rick
post Jan 08, 2008, 04:57 PM
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Maybe wanting to be ethical is a virtue.

I agree that acting as one believes God wants him to so that he will not be thrown on the fire is beneath the potential of Human.
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Discordia
post Jan 08, 2008, 06:19 PM
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I personally find the whole topic of religion a waste. Knowing how I feel personally, I cannot imagine that anyone could ever believe in a super natural god. When I was a little boy religion was forced on me by my aunt and once I had learned what Christianity was about, it seemed ridiculous. The whole idea of Christianity confused me, for every question I had, the only answer they could give me was either a lie, or them telling me to have faith. Even as a little boy I could not have faith in something that they could not prove to me. Religion still caused issues, I did not believe in god or religion, yet I went to church because I was told I would go to hell if I didn't, and at the time it seemed a big risk not to go. I cannot say what finally clicked, but eventually even the tales of Heaven and Hell seemed too improbable.

Just like everyone else says, religion is the biggest cause of death, war, and pain in the history of mankind. People actually kill because of blind faith. Religion is the opiate of the masses, and the best form of control for the sheep of society.
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maximus242
post Jan 09, 2008, 12:55 AM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jan 08, 2008, 02:57 PM) *

Maybe wanting to be ethical is a virtue.

I agree that acting as one believes God wants him to so that he will not be thrown on the fire is beneath the potential of Human.


That was one thing I never liked about religions, how they use fear to create compliance. Feels like a military dictatorship.
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Hudzon
post Jan 09, 2008, 08:56 AM
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QUOTE

Wouldn't such a true believing squad leader be tempted to take unnecessary chances with the lives of his men? Further, knowing that, wouldn't it be unethical for a superior officer to assign such a believer to command troops in battle?


An interesting question. I would say that as long as the risks are strategically justifiable and not done out of arrogant hubris, then choosing a religious commander has a lot of advantages over an atheist.

Increased morale, fanatical loyalty and no fear of death are the kind of qualities I'd like to see in my troops.

Finally, while sacrificing troops to achieve the goal is not always cost effective in the Western military doctrine (few, but highly trained troops), it is often the case in Russian-based military doctrines (masses of poorly trained troops).

And... "Unethical"? We are sending people to die in the name of killing other people. At which point does "ethics" come in here?
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Rick
post Jan 09, 2008, 06:14 PM
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QUOTE(Hudzon @ Jan 09, 2008, 05:56 AM) *
And... "Unethical"? We are sending people to die in the name of killing other people. At which point does "ethics" come in here?

An implicit assumption is that we (the good guys) only engage in "just" wars (unlike Iraq, for example).
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Hudzon
post Jan 11, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Pawns of one side killing off the pawns of the other.

As fun as it is to have someone kill others in my name, I'm not sure whether I could encourage them to do so and still consider myself a "good guy".
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