Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Deadly content, the potential religious violence

How thin is the veneer of civilization?

How long in a crisis before ignorance shows it's ugly head and causes the primitive beliefs of the deluded to be used in the most terrible and disgusting ways?

Let me say this clearly and plainly, the Abrahamic religions are primitive and DANGEROUS forms of manipulation.

Who decides what is best? - the individual of course, but I do not think I have to draw down to that low of a level. Because someone is free to make a dangerous, damaging, or unproductive decision, in no way makes that decision equal to a well researched intelligent decision. Simply, there is a moral basis in human cultures and it comes from biology and social contract, not from some supernatural force.

Of course we all know that the principle of non aggression can be violated, and often with the initiator of the violence as the victor. This is often called natural law or the law of the jungle, and that thought would be correct. As animals (and we are only slightly evolved primates) barbarism is sadly often a default position. Barbarism in humans is only slightly tempered by our biological programing and social conditioning, the minimum necessary to propagate the species.

This flows into advanced political thought, like individualist anarchism, is the playground of the intelligent (statistically rare) and that the the more average people, the 'peak curve' people, are more likely because of their lower tendency or ability to rise above the biological default, will look to social forms that lead to despotism.

Education or the accumulation of knowledge of any kind, or lack of it, does not determine an individual's character, but it is clear that lack of education can lead to ignorant and destructive decisions. Ignorance encourages or guides humans into destructive behavior, the lower the cognitive ability the more likely to engage in violent barbarism.

Some may be able to resist the urges for destructive decisions due to a natural/biological guide, but with ignorance we get the 'peak curve' people (the average joe) agreeing with or participating in 'witch'-burning. Sadly with indoctrination (often confused with education) we get a predatory-elitist oligarchical controlled form of despotism.

Remember that the Medieval 'witch' persecutions were a product of the predatory humans of the oligarchy of the time. The church and their minions were part of on an oligarchy and that oligarchy promoted the ignorance of the masses. The church suppressed education and science deliberately and with full knowledge of the same.

In "poverty stricken" areas of the world, ignorance and superstition is the rule and not the exception, 'witch'-burning or 'witch' persecution is common and accepted. I am about to point you to recorded instances and videos of this practice. While some of this is non-christian (all of it is of course religious based), you may be shocked to find that much of the violence is from christian churches supported by money sent from christian churches in the United States.

The practice or 'witch' persecution is based on ignorance, and sadly I feel that after this country crashes, it could be less than a year before the predatory individuals imbedded in religion in this country will start the practice of 'witch'-burning again.

Often I will get the counter argument "Many 'intellectuals' have been the purveyors of the greatest evils." Of course this could be rationalized, but in the end it is an attempt at a 'debate ending idea' because in the end, ignorance never gives us enlightenment nor individuals like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Denis Diderot, Benjamin Franklin, François-Marie Arouet and a list too long to start here.

Because ignorance is the default human position its use and abuse by the ruling elite is well documented. I would also argue that ignorance also damages 'character' or at least can contribute. Ignorance causes much evil, even simple ignorance of facts such as the ignorance of germ theory, will give us examples like India, where proper sanitation is often ignored or unknown and dysentery is a major killer. Dysentery is most often caused by ignorance with it's second creator - warfare.

I have never seen a single instance of 'real' witchcraft 'magick' as practiced by Wicca has never actually worked. In other words, there are not and never have been 'witches' in the medieval understanding of this practice. None of the spells, potions, or incantations actually do anything it is simply an exercise in futility. Many from Wicca or the far more stupid Satanism try to attempt magick/magic often, but just as every other religions fails so has any other form of supernatural presentation failed. In the last ten-thousand years there has not been even the single slightest sliver of evidence of the existence of any supernatural anything.

Therefore 'witches' are harmless hobbyists (or as you will see victims) who just take themselves too serious (or have enemies), but that is not a reason to burn, torture, and kill a human - something that is clearly commanded by the Abrahamic religions. Because supernatural witchcraft does not and never did exist, and by extension witches and wizards, all of the persecution and murder for that 'crime' was and is purposefully deceitful and was and is used for propaganda. The religious manipulators have and do use fear to control the ignorant, this has been at great expense for hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Below are links and videos verifying the fact that 'witch' persecution has not stopped and is currently a problem.

African churches denounce children as ‘witches’

And just when you thought this was just third world countries - try the US!

This link has footage of a mass witch-burning of what looks like a handful of victims, as they are being burned alive. When the victims are trying to escape the 'good villagers' are seen pushing them back into the flames and beating them with sticks. The victims scream in pain and beg for mercy, none of the witnesses stop this horror. Do not view this video if you are disturbed by graphic human torture and brutality in up close detail - I myself can only watch a few seconds of this before I am sickened.

If you think this couldn't happen here under great social and political unrest you are deluding yourself - the passages, that contain the direction for violence are sitting there in black and white on the pages of the Bible... only waiting for a willing sociopath.


  1. Some places put gay people to death, as well, not to mention a host of other strange tribal customs I couldn't even begin to get into (think extreme genital mutilation).

    One particularly barbaric country throw people who are addicted to drugs into a pit with murderers and rapists, and then some of them watch it on TV.

    Anyway, I think you're going down a weird road. For one thing, claiming that religion has some sort of speciality in the ways of murder is fallacious at best, slanderous at worst. I really don't want to see another boring version of the same argument played out here, which it will if swiftfoxmark see this. He's going to go off on Stalin and Mao and try to claim Hitler was an atheist too...

    I feel the yawn coming on already...

    Anyway, yesh, burning witches is bad. I don't think you're doing yourself or atheists a favor by making the argument that religious people kill witches... because most don't.

    I mean, by your logic, guns are wrong because I can show you tons of videos of bad people (many of whom are *cue the scary music* religious) using guns improperly, but I know that your right to compensate for your small... ego by purchasing a gun should not be infringed just because some people would use the gun to kill someone.

    Religions don't burn witches, crazy ass people who take things too seriously burn witches. Crazy ass people who take things too seriously could be religious or not... just a thought.

  2. "Religions don't burn witches, crazy ass people who take things too seriously burn witches. Crazy ass people who take things too seriously could be religious or not... just a thought."

    You are giving it a pass, religion that is...

    The part about burning witches and stoning brats, and killing homosexuals is not written as a "suggestion" it is clearly stated - go do this...

    That is dangerous, you can deny it all you like but the potential to encourage some crazy is there, and it is considered "flawless and holy" by more than just the crazy.

    And yes Bret I would say without hesitation that religion is the backing reason for at least 98% of all the witch burnings in history, some crazy may want to kill but in cases like this they are encouraged by the text.

    The difference in something considered holy and a dangerous tool is obvious, if you don't see that then I don't know how to proceed.

    I don't consider it fallacious or slanderous I know what religious people are capable of from very bad personal experiences.

    The experiences have nothing to do with child abuse, I was an adult, I may very well be one of the few who went to Catholic school and never had a problem with any "inappropriate acts"!

  3. My condolences on whoever hurt you, but having been a victim does not entitle one to being a bigot. It only explains your stance, it doesn't really excuse it.

    So atheists who round up clergy and kill them may not be "witch burning," but it's happened, and it's vitriol like the emotional arguments you're presenting that encourages it. The first step in attacking someone is to demonize and thereby dehumanize them, thereby making it okay to do whatever it takes to defeat them.

    You might be interested in knowing that many "witches" in the past were midwives, many of whom were herbalists. It's a common assumption that they did do "witchcraft," in the sense that medicine was not understood at the time and might have appeared or been construed as witchcraft. From pain relieve to abortion, these women (and even men) were seen as ideologically and religious dangerous, not to mention the possibility that any woman with power is threatening to a patriarchy (hence the end of Joan d'Arc).

    And I stand by my assertion that religion is like a gun: it provides a false sense of security and comfort, it harms by design, but it mostly goes unused and ignored by those who have it. I don't see religion as harmless, but it would be awfully presumptuous of me to play "thought police."

  4. So what's the solution to this problem?

  5. The crime is not in religion, the crime is in violence. If someone lights another person on fire, I'm not sure if it matters whether it was done because someone thought the other person was a witch, whether someone burned someone of another race, or whether someone heard the neighbor's dog telling them to burn someone. A crime is not a crime because of intent, but because of the consequence.

    If anything, someone who burns others for being a witch just needs a little education in why it's a bad idea to take justice into your own hands.

    Besides, usually these "witch burnings" have deeper grudges behind them. Jilted former lovers, insults to honor... these are doubtlessly the motivation for murder in most of these cases. As pointed out, there really isn't any witch craft going on, so... it's clearly something else.

  6. Bret

    You are assuming that I am approaching this from an emotional standpoint and far from it this is a long term logical, rational analysis of the situation, I consider this criticism important and one of the core reasons I am an anti-thiest.

    You do know that Charles Manson did not actually murder any of the poor people slaughtered by his followers, he may be a dangerous psychopath but he "told" people to murder, he kept his crazy hands clear of the bloodbath.

    I have posted before that the killings done in the name of communism and other governments labeled as "atheist" were in fact more of an example of a cult in and of themselves. I consider government and religion branches from the same tree, both very dangerous.

    So lets look at your "gun the same as religion" argument (and I have seen this one before, at least similar). To be specific we need to talk about religious texts - the written word as that is what we are talking about.

    Bible - claims to be the revealed word of god.

    Guns - no such claim.

    Bible - contains text that demands the death penalty for infractions.

    Guns - no such claim.

    Bible - claims to be the infallible direction from a deity.

    Guns - no such claim.

    Bible - has followers that will chant, wiggle, and sing until in a mental state similar to psychedelic drugs and the followers then relate their stories to other followers as a sign from god.

    Guns - occasionally someone will attach a ridiculous story but no chanting or singing is necessary to tell a BS story.

    Sam Colt never told anyone he was god and that they needed to kill witches and homosexuals. Many religious leaders, today and in history do just that.

    So why the part about Charles Manson - because in the end what is the difference in some crazy folk singer telling his followers to kill people and a crazy bronze age crackpot writing down that god tells you to kill homosexuals and witches?

    Same crap just one is far dustier and smells like mould.

  7. swiftfoxmark2

    "So what's the solution to this problem?"

    For christian (and for that matter any religion) religious adherents to expressly disavow any and all violent dangerous textual content, then remove that content from the religious texts and shun all religionists that continue to claim the dangerous texts. This has to be voluntary and it has to be taken on by the followers themselves.

    Often when you oppress a religion it grows, for my part criticism and even blasphemous humor is the way to deal with dangerous religions.

    It must be removed or it will always sit there waiting for the next bat-shit crazy to use it - one gun is dangerous, hundreds of people convinced that god told them to do something and each with a gun and all behind a crazy leader will change history and leave a trail of blood ankle deep behind it...

  8. How does a religion make someone do something? Isn't religion just a scheme of ideas? How does an idea kill someone? Doesn't the idea require a human to implement it, after interpreting it? And doesn't the interpretation require individual thought? Looks like a lot of places for people to have to stop and think about what they're doing.

    Attacking the religion is backward. You need to attack what makes people susceptible to schemes of thought that deny them full autonomy. Check out Erich Fromm's Fear of Freedom (a/k/a Escape from Freedom) for a good examination of what makes a populace susceptible to mass action against their own interest. Religion isn't the cause, it's just the vector.

  9. Charles F. Oxtrot

    I think of religion as a form of manipulation that can be dangerous.

    It is dangerous in this case because it was written by crazy bronze age primitives who thought slavery, beating your wife, and racist murder were not only good things but encouraged by a "god".

    You are correct the "word" or the texts themselves do not kill people, swiping from Bret, just as a gun does not kill on it's own... it all has to have a human action to produce mayhem. I consider them dangerous because as long as there is any veneration the outdated texts will continue to contain the primitive commands to violence.

    I would have to disagree that attacking religion is backward, if it can be ridiculed enough, criticized enough it will die just as other primitive religions have.

    I don't know if I would call religion a vector, more like a tool, a manipulative tool where the susceptible can be marched in lock-step from the grave of some sociopathic desert rat.

    Didn't Fromm's book talk about cognitive dissonance with the authoritarian, sadist, and the sycophant and describe the methodology that brings on "statism" (in his words fascism)?

    How does that negate religious texts with horrid content as dangerous tools? Isn't religion just an old time-tested form of manipulation?

    Am I attacking the tool, or because it is so venerated, criticizing the tool and it is then perceived as an attack?

  10. Who is venerating religion? Not me.

    I'm making a simpler statement, which you can either take at face value, or try to dissect into bits you can digest under your perspective.

    Religion is just the vector. I could as easily demonstrate that science serves a parallel purpose among the atheists and agnostics. What you're really complaining about is mass manipulation and gullibility.

    As to Fromm, he didn't talk about "cognitive dissonance" because that weak-sauce pseudo-intellectual cliche didn't exist in the 40s. What he talked about was that people under stress --existential stress rooted in economic and social uncertainty-- will be more likely swayed by a surrender to A Superior Power. Note that in 1940s Germany, the Superior Power was not religion, but a State, a Government.

    Blaming religion is half-assed and hardly could be said to resemble an accurate assessment of causation.

  11. "Who is venerating religion? "- in the US that would be at least 70% of the population, the people who do not are in the minority.

    "Religion is just the vector. I could as easily demonstrate that science serves a parallel purpose among the atheists and agnostics. What you're really complaining about is mass manipulation and gullibility."

    I'm actually making a more specific point, witches in the form identified in the middle ages don't exist, there is no evidence for that supernatural skill.

    Causation is the act of agency which produces and effect, the specific act of burning witches is specifically a religious commanded event.

    We are not talking about some correlation v. causation example like testing for the cancer causing properties of a food additive, we are talking about a direct commandment in black an white that states the specific action.

    There is not any confusion here about the source for the commandment for the event or the reason this horrid and abhorrent action is considered
    normal and "good".

    "Note that in 1940s Germany, the Superior Power was not religion, but a State, a Government."

    Yes it was, a cultish one with all the trappings of a religious cult, but then religion and the state are the twins of manipulation.

    Lately I have noticed how many atheists have become defenders of the state and religion, it seems strange this turn of events...


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