Jan 27 2014

Episode 124: Religion’s Role in Global Conflict

New data from the Pew Research Center shows religious violence is on the rise world-wide. Religiously motivated sectarian violence, harassment of women, mob-violence and terrorism have increased steadily and dramatically over the past 7 years in every region except the Americas. Still, many of these conflicts erupt in areas plagued by disputes over land and political control, so is religion really to blame? For this episode we review empirical research that attempts to understand the role religion and politics play in global religious conflicts. Also on this episode: What the hell is going on in Philosophy of Religion departments? While only 12% of philosophers accept or lean towards theism, 72% of philosophers who specialize in Philosophy of Religion are theists. Of course, both theists and atheists can find self-serving interpretations of this disconnect, but what is really going on? In trying to answer this question we examine research and educated opinions of those who work in the field.

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Episode Links:

Kirk Cameron on Parenting

UN committee takes on Vatican and Pope Defrocks 400

Violence on the decline world wide, except religious violence which is rising

Satanic Statue controversy

Dsouza election fraud

A study of what motivates people to enter Philosophy of Religion

Uganda bill doesn’t get signed into law, but even the reasoning why is so bigoted it will make you furious.


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  1. 1
    Crimson Wool

    Re: Spousal rape, rape by deception, etc (the bit towards the end where you’re talking about Zeus raping Hercules’ mom).

    This link does an excellent job of putting together a case on the underlying thought processes behind historical rape laws (i.e. why they are so bizarrely awful).

    The short version is that not too long ago, sex outside of marriage was illegal. Therefore, a woman who was raped was being coerced to commit a crime (having sex outside of marriage), and rape was, effectively, an affirmative defense for charges of fornication or adultery . Anything which would qualify as obviating of responsibility for criminal activity counted as rape, so convincing someone to have sex with you by pretending to be their husband (and thus that the sex would be marital and legal) was rape.

    In conclusion, Zeus pretending to be Alcmene’s husband is precisely why it was rape. I hope this helps.

  2. 2

    Here’s a series about Heracles from a Greek mythology vlog, in which he is occasionally DISAPPOINTED!


    There are a lot of other details from the Heracles myths, delivered by a clever young woman with a pleasant Aussie accent, and it only takes a total of about 30 min. :)

  3. 3
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    MockTM covered the 1983 Hercules film, starring Lou Ferrigno.

    Video: The Bear Tossin’ Scene
    An actual line in the show:
    “Meanwhile, Hercules and the sorceress Circe cross the rainbow that will lead them to the gates of Hell.”
    If you can find the full movie, the MockTM Index has subtitles to play snarky commentary over the video.

  4. 4

    Were you aware of the link between Satanism and Objectivism?


    It’s interesting that you dismiss Satanism as inherently selfish if you weren’t. Nailed it first time.

    Also, I’ve heard that the local Hindu population wants to erect a shrine to the Monkey God Hanuman, which could be interesting.


    I love the podcast, thanks!

  5. 5

    Terrific show – better than the usual. I deeply appreciate the willingness to keep pressure on a corrupt Catholic process. There’s so much they could do as remedy they simply refuse to do. Shameful.

    Props also correcting the sloppy Salon article. Plenty of good stuff the author could have commented on without this particular data distortion. While I sympathize with the attitude, data misinterpretation damages credibility.

  6. 6
    Jerry E. Beuterbaugh

    “Reasonable Doubts” has been included in the Sites To See for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.


  7. 7

    You missed the best part about the statue. It’s also a functional bench/seat.

  8. 8

    I looked through the show notes but I didn’t see any scholarly references about the empirical study on the effect of religion on global conflicts. Can anyone provide a link?

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