At the invitation of Professor Robert, I'm starting a new thread.
Dr Bob, you are continually trying to draw clear distinctions between Catholicism and other (especially Christian) religions. I grant that Catholics are (a little) different, but, as they still fundamentally believe in the magic, invisible daddy in the sky, there is really NO difference.
Two points: The Bible (whether or not you take it literally) is the foundation of your (and all Christian) religions. A cursory examination of the Bible reveals a SMALL handful of usable tenets along with pages and chapters FULL of utter nonsense. The fact that any religion would base itself upon such a holey book, makes that religion as creditable as Joseph's golden tablets from God which he, unfortunately, misplaced.
God: I will be heartily disagreed with here, but I find the idea of God to be completely understandable. Here we have, at the dawn of civilization, various groups of totally ignorant people trying to put words, meanings, and causes to all manner of things which they couldn't possible understand. Combine this with a clever but ruthless set who have come to realize that, if they ascribed words, meanings, and causes to the world around them, people would actually BELIEVE them (as they no other source of information). These priests could and did use this power to govern the people - insisting that everyone in the tribe bow before them.
Then came the age of knowledge. We could start to actually understand all these things that the priests had, up till then, kept to themselves. As the power base for all civilized people rested with these priests, they were (and, of course, still are) wildly defensive of their position.
There is, however, NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural - aside from these historic pressures.,
Damn, Nate. Have you seen yourself lately? You don't look very well, if I might say.
I have never looked well. I'm a sick ogre. hahaha
rather than dividing ourselves into oppositional tribes.
Well, coming from someone who made an awful lot of incorrect statements about what atheism is, and how atheists are this does sound a bit ironic.
You seem to think that atheism is more than the simple lack of belief in god(s), but it simply isn't. Stop making assumptions, if you want to understand us then start asking questions.
Practice what you preach, you know.
Earlier I mentioned that it's kinda useless to categorize people by what they are not, we are both non-Zoltarians, does that really say anything about you and me or what we stand for?
You and I both are atheists (lack belief towards gods), I simply go one god further than you, whether you like it or not, you yourself are an atheist, as atheism is nothing more than a position opposed to a belief in a god.
A lot of people think that you can either be theist or atheist, but not both, that's just incorrect, this seems to create a divide where there really does not have to be one.
we are both non-Zoltarians,
Are you sure you are a non-Zoltarian? There's a Zoltarius-shaped hole in your soul, you known, so only Zoltarius can fill it!
OK I'd better stop this before the Lord God Tarskyte smites me for my lapsing and following false gods.
Zoltar will crush you underfoot, trample you, burn you and torture you forever and ever, and ever!
It's because he loves you like a father loves a son, you know.
@Jorita, I'm sure you don't need religion to teach you right from wrong, or to treat others with kindness. That's not quite the same thing, though, as saying that no one does, nor is it the same thing as saying society doesn't. After all, you have been raised from birth in a culture that is steeped in Judeo-Christian belief. Everything from Hollywood to literature to friends to social structure. You can't help but adopt a lot of Judeo-Christian modes of thought just by osmosis, like the notion that we are one humanity, and that humanity is worth caring for.
It's also not the same as saying that you'll never need it, or that it wouldn't be helpful. Kindness sometimes benefits from reminders when we are tired or grumpy.
To answer your question, though, no, I am not a historian by profession. As you can tell from some of my other examples, my work is in physics and in science education. I'd be interested in what evidence and reasoning you have for the claim that Christianity has done more damage than any other religion, though. How are you defining damage? What makes something "in the name of Christianity?" Are you correcting for the fact that Christianity has more adherents than any other religion, to be sure you're not just measuring total numbers of people?
Society doesn't need the bible for morality and it actually makes society worse when the bible is used as a standard for morals. (data can show this not just my personal opinion) I have been raised in a fucked up and highly unequal culture that has used Judeo-Christian beliefs to justify things like hatred of homosexuals, racism, classism, tribalism, etc. Humanity is doing much better as religion loses it's power and money. (see northern Europe and Australia for examples)
Christianity (but to be fair so has all religions) has done the deepest kind of damage possible and that is the imprisonment of the human mind with mythology and fiction. The number of Christians is not relavent. The majority of humans are Asians, does that make Asians better than or more "truthful" that any other humans? You need to study history more and actual facts BEFORE you make assertions about the truth or facts.
"After all, you have been raised from birth in a culture that is steeped in Judeo-Christian belief. Everything from Hollywood to literature to friends to social structure."
I think this is correct, and it's been interesting over the last few years as I've analyzed why I think certain things are good to do, figured out why and tossed it aside or kept it with new reasons replacing the old. We are one humanity not because we are children of God or made in his image, but because we share a genetic similarity. One can find people who act in similar fashion all around the world. It's like congruent evolution. An appendage or organ might have a similar shape and perform similar action in two different species, but that doesn't mean the two species are in anyway closely related.
Robert is not offended, he just truly believes in god and the catholic church, and is trying to show us the error of our ways and thinking. The thing Robert is missing, is that most Atheists have and do read the bible, some have been lucky enough not to have gone through the indoctrination and brain washing. Some Atheists are angry, as well they should be, at what they have been through, and from that, they learned, especially in institutional teaching, there were/are so many evil people, how could that be, when they were constantly told, god was a loving, gentle, kind god, who would look after you, if you prayed hard enough. Religion and the bible is the best source of recruitment for Atheism. Robert, as with religious people of every persuasion, doesn't answer questions, or puts the same question back to us. Always evasive.
I, also do understand why all the different gods were thought up, and I agree with MikeLong, I don't understand it from the days of Enlightenment and the information which abounds these days.
Catholics are actively told not to read the OT, children are bought up with Catechism, a summary of what they want catholics to believe. It is total propaganda and a lesson in what to drop out of the discussion, what and how to twist words, and what to completely ignore, never to be spoken of again.
I'm not sure where you're coming from with those claims, @Suzanne. Old Testament readings are part of almost every Catholic mass. That seems like an odd thing to do if we're being actively told not to read it. In fact, Catholic services run on a schedule of readings, so that nothing important is left out and no minister can dwell overmuch on any "favorite" biblical verses. That also helps put verses in context, rather than isolation.
The Catechism is far too dense a read for children; nobody would do that. It's more like a quick reference book for adult learners. Even then the English translation is a bit awkward.
Sorry, I have to agree with Suzanne. After 12 years of Catholic education (4 in grammar school, 4 in high school and 4 in a catholic university) I will attest to the fact that the Old Testament was downplayed, glossed over or ignored. I remember being told that the old testament was a teaching tool for a primitive people and should not be taken literally. So while you can cherry-pick the Old Testament for a few passages for a mass, vast tracts are embarrassing. Ezekiel and Leviticus come to mind as being over the top rantings of a Bronze age people.