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May 08 2008

The end of god-7: How ‘good religion’ corrupts people

(For previous posts in this series, see here.)

One major problem with religion is that it tends to dull the moral sensibilities of otherwise decent people, causing them to justify acts by ‘their’ people that they would unhesitatingly condemn if done by anyone else. The process starts in childhood. Take for example the study of Israeli children done by George Tamarin. When told the Biblical story of how Joshua and the Israelites ruthlessly massacred every living thing (men, women, young, old, animals) in a battle against their enemies, the children justified this atrocity using appallingly racist reasoning. When the same story was modified to make the perpetrator of the outrages be an obscure ancient Chinese warlord, the children responded the way that one would hope they would do, saying that the massacre was wrong.

As Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, p. 255) says:

[W]hen their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of the children agreed with the moral judgments that most modern humans would share. Joshua’s action was a deed of barbaric genocide. But it all looks different from a religious point of view. And the difference starts early in life. It was religion that made the difference between children condemning genocide and condoning it.

Another example can be seen in the PBS Frontline documentary on the Mormons, available online. Episode #9 deals with the 1857 massacre by Mormons of 120 men, women and children from Arkansas who were passing through Mormon territory in southern Utah, at a place called Mountain Meadows, on their way to California.

Judith Freeman (who is a descendent of the Mormons) says that she is sympathetic to the 75 Mormon men who committed the massacre. “I think I became more sympathetic to their plight because of this idea, this Mormon principle of perfect obedience. These men were ordered to appear at Mountain Meadows, so in a way they were victims of their own devotion and obedience.”

This highlights perfectly the danger of religion. It causes people to sympathize with and even excuse appalling actions simply because the people who committ them sincerely believe they are doing god’s work. The idea that one should view the perpetrators of atrocities as somehow victims of their own upbringing and conditioning is not, in principle, an unreasonable proposition. The problem is that people tend to extend this charitable view only to people who share their own faith, and refuse to consider this for actions done by others against them, thus leading to an endless downward spiral of self-righteous justifications of actions done by one’s own tribe and condemnations of the actions of the perceived enemy, even though both actions are objectively the same.

As Richard Dawkins says:

Religion changes, for people, the definition of good. Atheists and humanists tend to define good and bad deeds in terms of the welfare and suffering of others. Murder, torture, and cruelty are bad because they cause people to suffer. Most religious people think them bad, too, but some religions (for example the religion of the Taliban) sanction all of them under some circumstances. For non-religious people, the behavior of consenting adults in a private bedroom is the business of nobody else, and is not bad unless it causes suffering – for example by breaking up a happy family. But many religions arrogate to themselves the right to decide that certain kinds of sexual behavior, even if they do no harm to anyone, are wrong.

The actions of the Taliban, their vile bullying of women, their sanctimonious hatred of all that might lead to enjoyment, their violence, their ignorant bigotry, their hatred of education, their cruelty, seem to me to be as close to pure evil as anything I can imagine. Yet, by the lights of their own religion they are supremely righteous – really good people.
. . .
It is easy for religious faith, even if it is irrational in itself, to lead a sane and decent person, by rational, logical steps, to do terrible things. There is a logical path from religious faith to evil deeds. There is no logical path from atheism to evil deeds.

While Dawkins gives the example of Islam and the Taliban, the same kinds of examples can be multiplied many times over for any of the other religions. The problem is not any particular religion, or version of religion, it is belief in god that is the problem. The danger is, as Freeman says, “If you can get people to believe they are doing god’s will, you can get them to do anything.”

The sad truth that emerges from the rise of religious extremism is that once you have got people to accept the existence of god, it seems all too easy to convince them that they should do evil actions as part of god’s mandate. Or as Voltaire put it, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

I think it is time for the so-called ‘moderate’ religious people to abandon their belief in god and join the atheists. That would be the best way to combat the negative effects of religion.

POST SCRIPT: Pat Condell on the curse of faith

He talks about the evil of indoctrinating children in religious faith when they are too young to realize what is going on.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    bob

    Couldn’t it be said that atheism corrupts ‘good’ people? Mao Tse Tung murdered millions – some of those because of their Taoist and Buddhist beliefs.

  2. 2
    Brock

    Bob: The *lack* of belief could not have lead Mao to commit atrocities without being coupled with extreme bigotry. The combination of Atheism + Tolerance (humanist values) is not only safe, but actively opposes suffering and murder.

    I wrote about this a bit in my paraphrase and critique of The God Delusion Debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox. The key portion:


    Dawkins: Most christians aren’t directly dangerous. But it’s dangerous to teach children that faith is a virtue in itself — that words and actions don’t need justification when faith is invoked. Violent/unstable people will commit terrible acts when given any excuse, including religion.
    Lennox: Christians using violence disobey christ’s explicit command. It is indeed dangerous to train children as fanatics; christians train students to think. The God Delusion airbrushes over Marxist atrocities and lumps religions together. New Atheism can be parallel to communism.
    Dawkins: There’s a logical path from religious faith to immoral acts, but no such path for atheism. Despots have not committed atrocities as a result of rationality or atheism, but for other (political) reasons.
    Lennox: There’s a logical path from any fanatical ideology to violence. Atheism is a faith as well.
    Dawkins: It’s not. You’re an atheist with respect to Thor and Zeus. My position is the same with respect to Jehova/Yahweh. That lack does not lead to murder.

    Lennox is really way out of line equating “new atheists” (perhaps better labelled nontheistic humanists) with communists. Beyond the definition of atheism (lack of belief in the supernatural), there’s virtually no common ground.

  3. 3
    Kathleen Weber

    I found your arguments agreeable, but I think there is no way around it–for most unbelievers, atheism is worn just as religiously as any religion and a kind of Rah, Rah, Rah Athiest
    pride family banner waved at some Eternal rally for the great
    cause.

    I would invite you to visit my Mountain Meadows Massacre
    website. Sometime we will have to craft an account of the
    massacre which is fair and true and I don’t think we will
    get there by looking at the militia through the spectacles
    of any religion, even Mormon. Historians need to be objective
    and historians more so. Secularism, even atheism,
    provide paradigms more useful than those of the Christian
    ancestors who died there.

    Historians must be objective, even when looking at one’s own
    ancestors. I was trapped in an Oregon Hospice where I was
    to die in 6 months and might have done so. The Springfield
    Senior Breakfast Massacre happened the day I was transferred
    to the Hospice and I escaped and was kept sane by a dear
    friend, my girlfriend’s father who was i sympathy with the
    Clinton attempt to set up a Western Hemisphere War Crimes
    Court intended to make their own errors a source of Criminal
    review.

    Bush destroyed this work on taking office by saying that no
    American could be tried there. His Daddy could be tried there, even. The idea was absurd. This is the reason it collapsed.

    My friend had a heart attack and for awhile, as he recovered, we
    exchanged emails every day. My brother’s friends were able to
    get me out, and he kept me sane by payig a large phone bill so
    his daughter and I could go o like teenagers and I could
    search for someone to take me in on the California side of
    the Emerald Curtain.

    He would have been pleased to be tried and senteced in such a
    Court. Because of his age and the war he has worked hard to
    maintain his influence with George Bush the first. I am always
    afai to call now for fear that I will find out tat he is gone.

    He taught me much, and gave me courage to use what I already
    understood about propoganda. A critique of the anti Hatch/Childbride, Child Marriage crude propoganda that has
    been circulatg disappeared and the original replaced by what
    I started with.

    The gave me a series of girls names, but I am ill and far too weak to reasearch such things now. With propoganda, the ends
    do not justify the means. Then I gave a real example of an older
    friend’s marriage in Page Arizona at thirteen. Her fiance attended her 8th Grade graduation, despite her big belly and
    the convinced the judge to sign the papers so they could be
    married before their very much wanted baby, Joy could be born.

    I think the old system in Utah served its many cultures best.
    A two on one conversation with a judge who could take the
    culture, seriousness, and lkeliness of endurance of the Union,
    the depth of love between the couple–all could be considered
    with care. She was married in the early 1930 and her family needed another wage earner. His families business was hiring
    themselves out to play old timey music [much like Moriss dancing, at Wedding, missionary farewells, and dances.

    The worse times are, the more Mormons at that time were willing to dig into their pockets for gas money fo a good band,
    and they had food and a system of barter that kept the family
    band on the road. This year was one of the happiest of my
    friend’s life.

    When her children were school age she began the process of
    self education, helping them with their homework. When her
    first child was through high school he went to Stanford and
    sent home his books when he was finished with them and helped her with them when she needed it. She loved Steinbeck,
    which, was much lIke her life.

    She left the church because of confusion around race. She was part Porugese, as most surviving Northern California Indians
    are. They were fisherfolk, like the Portugese, and soon were married into Portgese famiies. Anyway, there was racism.
    Rediculously, the ward let her light skinned boys pass the sacrament but not the dark.

    Over-religiousness is as harmful as evil and the two are sometimes linked. Our war against islam is as religious
    as the Crusades. We are as culpable as the Nazi’s.
    i hate the Taliban/FLS analogy. Now that the jeffs are in
    prison, the wives and childen can get back to the matriarchal
    and sororal form of polygamy that makes woma and children
    happiest. So I pray I think the Chldren are strong enough
    and know their History well enough to box their way out of
    this.

    They are miserable yet have a role to play.

    I think that the Mountain Meadows Massacre is best seen through a paradigm other than the one the fellow who
    posted recently used. If anyone has time to read my blog
    it would save time, if you’re willing to spar with me some.

    Sincerely,

    Kathleen Matheson Sutherland

    http://[email protected]
    Go o the See all Playlists Button to see the most interesting
    material. The playlists that show first are musical. The rest
    is pretty grisly stuff, in the man, but interesting and critically
    important, often rare.

  4. 4
    Kathleen Weber

    I found your arguments agreeable, but I think there is no way around it–for most unbelievers, atheism is worn just as religiously as any religion and a kind of Rah, Rah, Rah Athiest
    pride family banner waved at some Eternal rally for the great
    cause.

    I would invite you to visit my Mountain Meadows Massacre
    website. Sometime we will have to craft an account of the
    massacre which is fair and true and I don’t think we will
    get there by looking at the militia through the spectacles
    of any religion, even Mormon. Historians need to be objective
    and historians more so. Secularism, even atheism,
    provide paradigms more useful than those of the Christian
    ancestors who died there.

    Historians must be objective, even when looking at one’s own
    ancestors. I was trapped in an Oregon Hospice where I was
    to die in 6 months and might have done so. The Springfield
    Senior Breakfast Massacre happened the day I was transferred
    to the Hospice and I escaped and was kept sane by a dear
    friend, my girlfriend’s father who was i sympathy with the
    Clinton attempt to set up a Western Hemisphere War Crimes
    Court intended to make their own errors a source of Criminal
    review.

    Bush destroyed this work on taking office by saying that no
    American could be tried there. His Daddy could be tried there, even. The idea was absurd. This is the reason it collapsed.

    My friend had a heart attack and for awhile, as he recovered, we
    exchanged emails every day. My brother’s friends were able to
    get me out, and he kept me sane by payig a large phone bill so
    his daughter and I could go o like teenagers and I could
    search for someone to take me in on the California side of
    the Emerald Curtain.

    He would have been pleased to be tried and senteced in such a
    Court. Because of his age and the war he has worked hard to
    maintain his influence with George Bush the first. I am always
    afai to call now for fear that I will find out tat he is gone.

    He taught me much, and gave me courage to use what I already
    understood about propoganda. A critique of the anti Hatch/Childbride, Child Marriage crude propoganda that has
    been circulatg disappeared and the original replaced by what
    I started with.

    The gave me a series of girls names, but I am ill and far too weak to reasearch such things now. With propoganda, the ends
    do not justify the means. Then I gave a real example of an older
    friend’s marriage in Page Arizona at thirteen. Her fiance attended her 8th Grade graduation, despite her big belly and
    the convinced the judge to sign the papers so they could be
    married before their very much wanted baby, Joy could be born.

    I think the old system in Utah served its many cultures best.
    A two on one conversation with a judge who could take the
    culture, seriousness, and lkeliness of endurance of the Union,
    the depth of love between the couple–all could be considered
    with care. She was married in the early 1930 and her family needed another wage earner. His families business was hiring
    themselves out to play old timey music [much like Moriss dancing, at Wedding, missionary farewells, and dances.

    The worse times are, the more Mormons at that time were willing to dig into their pockets for gas money fo a good band,
    and they had food and a system of barter that kept the family
    band on the road. This year was one of the happiest of my
    friend’s life.

    When her children were school age she began the process of
    self education, helping them with their homework. When her
    first child was through high school he went to Stanford and
    sent home his books when he was finished with them and helped her with them when she needed it. She loved Steinbeck,
    which, was much lIke her life.

    She left the church because of confusion around race. She was part Porugese, as most surviving Northern California Indians
    are. They were fisherfolk, like the Portugese, and soon were married into Portgese famiies. Anyway, there was racism.
    Rediculously, the ward let her light skinned boys pass the sacrament but not the dark.

    Over-religiousness is as harmful as evil and the two are sometimes linked. Our war against islam is as religious
    as the Crusades. We are as culpable as the Nazi’s.
    i hate the Taliban/FLS analogy. Now that the jeffs are in
    prison, the wives and childen can get back to the matriarchal
    and sororal form of polygamy that makes woma and children
    happiest. So I pray I think the Chldren are strong enough
    and know their History well enough to box their way out of
    this.

    They are miserable yet have a role to play.

    I think that the Mountain Meadows Massacre is best seen through a paradigm other than the one the fellow who
    posted recently used. If anyone has time to read my blog
    it would save time, if you’re willing to spar with me some.

    Sincerely,

    Kathleen Matheson Sutherland

    http://[email protected]
    Go o the See all Playlists Button to see the most interesting
    material. The playlists that show first are musical. The rest
    is pretty grisly stuff, in the man, but interesting and critically
    important, often rare.

  5. 5
    Kathleen Weber

    I found your arguments agreeable, but I think there is no way around it–for most unbelievers, atheism is worn just as religiously as any religion and a kind of Rah, Rah, Rah Athiest
    pride family banner waved at some Eternal rally for the great
    cause.

    I would invite you to visit my Mountain Meadows Massacre
    website. Sometime we will have to craft an account of the
    massacre which is fair and true and I don’t think we will
    get there by looking at the militia through the spectacles
    of any religion, even Mormon. Historians need to be objective
    and historians more so. Secularism, even atheism,
    provide paradigms more useful than those of the Christian
    ancestors who died there.

    Historians must be objective, even when looking at one’s own
    ancestors. I was trapped in an Oregon Hospice where I was
    to die in 6 months and might have done so. The Springfield
    Senior Breakfast Massacre happened the day I was transferred
    to the Hospice and I escaped and was kept sane by a dear
    friend, my girlfriend’s father who was i sympathy with the
    Clinton attempt to set up a Western Hemisphere War Crimes
    Court intended to make their own errors a source of Criminal
    review.

    Bush destroyed this work on taking office by saying that no
    American could be tried there. His Daddy could be tried there, even. The idea was absurd. This is the reason it collapsed.

    My friend had a heart attack and for awhile, as he recovered, we
    exchanged emails every day. My brother’s friends were able to
    get me out, and he kept me sane by payig a large phone bill so
    his daughter and I could go o like teenagers and I could
    search for someone to take me in on the California side of
    the Emerald Curtain.

    He would have been pleased to be tried and senteced in such a
    Court. Because of his age and the war he has worked hard to
    maintain his influence with George Bush the first. I am always
    afai to call now for fear that I will find out tat he is gone.

    He taught me much, and gave me courage to use what I already
    understood about propoganda. A critique of the anti Hatch/Childbride, Child Marriage crude propoganda that has
    been circulatg disappeared and the original replaced by what
    I started with.

    The gave me a series of girls names, but I am ill and far too weak to reasearch such things now. With propoganda, the ends
    do not justify the means. Then I gave a real example of an older
    friend’s marriage in Page Arizona at thirteen. Her fiance attended her 8th Grade graduation, despite her big belly and
    the convinced the judge to sign the papers so they could be
    married before their very much wanted baby, Joy could be born.

    I think the old system in Utah served its many cultures best.
    A two on one conversation with a judge who could take the
    culture, seriousness, and lkeliness of endurance of the Union,
    the depth of love between the couple–all could be considered
    with care. She was married in the early 1930 and her family needed another wage earner. His families business was hiring
    themselves out to play old timey music [much like Moriss dancing, at Wedding, missionary farewells, and dances.

    The worse times are, the more Mormons at that time were willing to dig into their pockets for gas money fo a good band,
    and they had food and a system of barter that kept the family
    band on the road. This year was one of the happiest of my
    friend’s life.

    When her children were school age she began the process of
    self education, helping them with their homework. When her
    first child was through high school he went to Stanford and
    sent home his books when he was finished with them and helped her with them when she needed it. She loved Steinbeck,
    which, was much lIke her life.

    She left the church because of confusion around race. She was part Porugese, as most surviving Northern California Indians
    are. They were fisherfolk, like the Portugese, and soon were married into Portgese famiies. Anyway, there was racism.
    Rediculously, the ward let her light skinned boys pass the sacrament but not the dark.

    Over-religiousness is as harmful as evil and the two are sometimes linked. Our war against islam is as religious
    as the Crusades. We are as culpable as the Nazi’s.
    i hate the Taliban/FLS analogy. Now that the jeffs are in
    prison, the wives and childen can get back to the matriarchal
    and sororal form of polygamy that makes woma and children
    happiest. So I pray I think the Chldren are strong enough
    and know their History well enough to box their way out of
    this.

    They are miserable yet have a role to play.

    I think that the Mountain Meadows Massacre is best seen through a paradigm other than the one the fellow who
    posted recently used. If anyone has time to read my blog
    it would save time, if you’re willing to spar with me some.

    Sincerely,

    Kathleen Matheson Sutherland

    http://[email protected]
    Go o the See all Playlists Button to see the most interesting
    material. The playlists that show first are musical. The rest
    is pretty grisly stuff, in the man, but interesting and critically
    important, often rare.

  6. 6
    Kathleen Weber

    I found your arguments agreeable, but I think there is no way around it–for most unbelievers, atheism is worn just as religiously as any religion and a kind of Rah, Rah, Rah Athiest
    pride family banner waved at some Eternal rally for the great
    cause.

    I would invite you to visit my Mountain Meadows Massacre
    website. Sometime we will have to craft an account of the
    massacre which is fair and true and I don’t think we will
    get there by looking at the militia through the spectacles
    of any religion, even Mormon. Historians need to be objective
    and historians more so. Secularism, even atheism,
    provide paradigms more useful than those of the Christian
    ancestors who died there.

    Historians must be objective, even when looking at one’s own
    ancestors. I was trapped in an Oregon Hospice where I was
    to die in 6 months and might have done so. The Springfield
    Senior Breakfast Massacre happened the day I was transferred
    to the Hospice and I escaped and was kept sane by a dear
    friend, my girlfriend’s father who was i sympathy with the
    Clinton attempt to set up a Western Hemisphere War Crimes
    Court intended to make their own errors a source of Criminal
    review.

    Bush destroyed this work on taking office by saying that no
    American could be tried there. His Daddy could be tried there, even. The idea was absurd. This is the reason it collapsed.

    My friend had a heart attack and for awhile, as he recovered, we
    exchanged emails every day. My brother’s friends were able to
    get me out, and he kept me sane by payig a large phone bill so
    his daughter and I could go o like teenagers and I could
    search for someone to take me in on the California side of
    the Emerald Curtain.

    He would have been pleased to be tried and senteced in such a
    Court. Because of his age and the war he has worked hard to
    maintain his influence with George Bush the first. I am always
    afai to call now for fear that I will find out tat he is gone.

    He taught me much, and gave me courage to use what I already
    understood about propoganda. A critique of the anti Hatch/Childbride, Child Marriage crude propoganda that has
    been circulatg disappeared and the original replaced by what
    I started with.

    The gave me a series of girls names, but I am ill and far too weak to reasearch such things now. With propoganda, the ends
    do not justify the means. Then I gave a real example of an older
    friend’s marriage in Page Arizona at thirteen. Her fiance attended her 8th Grade graduation, despite her big belly and
    the convinced the judge to sign the papers so they could be
    married before their very much wanted baby, Joy could be born.

    I think the old system in Utah served its many cultures best.
    A two on one conversation with a judge who could take the
    culture, seriousness, and lkeliness of endurance of the Union,
    the depth of love between the couple–all could be considered
    with care. She was married in the early 1930 and her family needed another wage earner. His families business was hiring
    themselves out to play old timey music [much like Moriss dancing, at Wedding, missionary farewells, and dances.

    The worse times are, the more Mormons at that time were willing to dig into their pockets for gas money fo a good band,
    and they had food and a system of barter that kept the family
    band on the road. This year was one of the happiest of my
    friend’s life.

    When her children were school age she began the process of
    self education, helping them with their homework. When her
    first child was through high school he went to Stanford and
    sent home his books when he was finished with them and helped her with them when she needed it. She loved Steinbeck,
    which, was much lIke her life.

    She left the church because of confusion around race. She was part Porugese, as most surviving Northern California Indians
    are. They were fisherfolk, like the Portugese, and soon were married into Portgese famiies. Anyway, there was racism.
    Rediculously, the ward let her light skinned boys pass the sacrament but not the dark.

    Over-religiousness is as harmful as evil and the two are sometimes linked. Our war against islam is as religious
    as the Crusades. We are as culpable as the Nazi’s.
    i hate the Taliban/FLS analogy. Now that the jeffs are in
    prison, the wives and childen can get back to the matriarchal
    and sororal form of polygamy that makes woma and children
    happiest. So I pray I think the Chldren are strong enough
    and know their History well enough to box their way out of
    this.

    They are miserable yet have a role to play.

    I think that the Mountain Meadows Massacre is best seen through a paradigm other than the one the fellow who
    posted recently used. If anyone has time to read my blog
    it would save time, if you’re willing to spar with me some.

    Sincerely,

    Kathleen Matheson Sutherland

    http://[email protected]
    Go o the See all Playlists Button to see the most interesting
    material. The playlists that show first are musical. The rest
    is pretty grisly stuff, in the man, but interesting and critically
    important, often rare.

  7. 7
    Kathleen Weber

    I found your arguments agreeable, but I think there is no way around it–for most unbelievers, atheism is worn just as religiously as any religion and a kind of Rah, Rah, Rah Athiest
    pride family banner waved at some Eternal rally for the great
    cause.

    I would invite you to visit my Mountain Meadows Massacre
    website. Sometime we will have to craft an account of the
    massacre which is fair and true and I don’t think we will
    get there by looking at the militia through the spectacles
    of any religion, even Mormon. Historians need to be objective
    and historians more so. Secularism, even atheism,
    provide paradigms more useful than those of the Christian
    ancestors who died there.

    Historians must be objective, even when looking at one’s own
    ancestors. I was trapped in an Oregon Hospice where I was
    to die in 6 months and might have done so. The Springfield
    Senior Breakfast Massacre happened the day I was transferred
    to the Hospice and I escaped and was kept sane by a dear
    friend, my girlfriend’s father who was i sympathy with the
    Clinton attempt to set up a Western Hemisphere War Crimes
    Court intended to make their own errors a source of Criminal
    review.

    Bush destroyed this work on taking office by saying that no
    American could be tried there. His Daddy could be tried there, even. The idea was absurd. This is the reason it collapsed.

    My friend had a heart attack and for awhile, as he recovered, we
    exchanged emails every day. My brother’s friends were able to
    get me out, and he kept me sane by payig a large phone bill so
    his daughter and I could go o like teenagers and I could
    search for someone to take me in on the California side of
    the Emerald Curtain.

    He would have been pleased to be tried and senteced in such a
    Court. Because of his age and the war he has worked hard to
    maintain his influence with George Bush the first. I am always
    afai to call now for fear that I will find out tat he is gone.

    He taught me much, and gave me courage to use what I already
    understood about propoganda. A critique of the anti Hatch/Childbride, Child Marriage crude propoganda that has
    been circulatg disappeared and the original replaced by what
    I started with.

    The gave me a series of girls names, but I am ill and far too weak to reasearch such things now. With propoganda, the ends
    do not justify the means. Then I gave a real example of an older
    friend’s marriage in Page Arizona at thirteen. Her fiance attended her 8th Grade graduation, despite her big belly and
    the convinced the judge to sign the papers so they could be
    married before their very much wanted baby, Joy could be born.

    I think the old system in Utah served its many cultures best.
    A two on one conversation with a judge who could take the
    culture, seriousness, and lkeliness of endurance of the Union,
    the depth of love between the couple–all could be considered
    with care. She was married in the early 1930 and her family needed another wage earner. His families business was hiring
    themselves out to play old timey music [much like Moriss dancing, at Wedding, missionary farewells, and dances.

    The worse times are, the more Mormons at that time were willing to dig into their pockets for gas money fo a good band,
    and they had food and a system of barter that kept the family
    band on the road. This year was one of the happiest of my
    friend’s life.

    When her children were school age she began the process of
    self education, helping them with their homework. When her
    first child was through high school he went to Stanford and
    sent home his books when he was finished with them and helped her with them when she needed it. She loved Steinbeck,
    which, was much lIke her life.

    She left the church because of confusion around race. She was part Porugese, as most surviving Northern California Indians
    are. They were fisherfolk, like the Portugese, and soon were married into Portgese famiies. Anyway, there was racism.
    Rediculously, the ward let her light skinned boys pass the sacrament but not the dark.

    Over-religiousness is as harmful as evil and the two are sometimes linked. Our war against islam is as religious
    as the Crusades. We are as culpable as the Nazi’s.
    i hate the Taliban/FLS analogy. Now that the jeffs are in
    prison, the wives and childen can get back to the matriarchal
    and sororal form of polygamy that makes woma and children
    happiest. So I pray I think the Chldren are strong enough
    and know their History well enough to box their way out of
    this.

    They are miserable yet have a role to play.

    I think that the Mountain Meadows Massacre is best seen through a paradigm other than the one the fellow who
    posted recently used. If anyone has time to read my blog
    it would save time, if you’re willing to spar with me some.

    Sincerely,

    Kathleen Matheson Sutherland

    http://[email protected]
    Go o the See all Playlists Button to see the most interesting
    material. The playlists that show first are musical. The rest
    is pretty grisly stuff, in the man, but interesting and critically
    important, often rare.

  8. 8
    Paul Jarc

    The problem is that people tend to extend this charitable view only to people who share their own faith, and refuse to consider this for actions done by others against them

    This seems to me to follow more from tribalism than from religion. To be really convincing, you would need a study that shows that this kind of spin is exclusive to, or at least more common in, religious tribalism, as opposed to other kinds of tribalism (nationalistic/ethnic/etc.).

  9. 9
    Johan

    Wow, I’m truely fascinated by your work on this blog Mano. How many parts will this “end of god”-series be?

    Thanks again for a great post! You made a boring “breakfast-in-front-of-the-laptop” interesting!

  10. 10
    Mano

    Paul,

    Sure there are other tribal justifications for bad acts, other than religion. We should try and get rid of them all.

  11. 11
    Mano

    Johann,

    I am not sure how many more. At least three, I think in order to cover all the ground I had in mind. I am glad that they make for good breakfast reading!

  12. 12
    Paul Jarc

    My point is that the examples of Joshua and Mountain Meadows do not support an argument against religion. They support an argument against tribalism. In this case, the tribalism happens to be based on religion, but people can belong to a religion without being tribalistic about it, just as they can belong to a nation or ethnicity without being tribalistic about it. So an argument against tribalism, even religious tribalism, is not an argument against religion in general.

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