Re: Where we lost America

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 07:44:34 MST

From: "Technotranscendence" <>
> Not completely true. The Soviets, e.g., did murder a lot of people because
> of their religion, especially the Patriarch and clergy in the Russian
> Orthodox Church. They also made the life of believers much harder all
> around. This goes on to this day. Witness China's policy to Tibetan
> Buddhists and to that cult whose name escapes me.

It's difficult to find anything that is completely true. If atheists murdered
clergy, one wonders how many clergy were also murdered by opposing clergy. In
the religious wars, I tend to think of atheists as the referees and
scorekeepers, because they have less at stake, and less invested in the
morality play, so they can better maintain their objectivity. I've read that
China has been non-theistic for thousands of years, placing trust in the
teachings of Confucius rather than supernaturalism. So it's a cultural
imperative for Chinese policy to oppose theism, not exactly an atheistic
pogrom. Also, don't forget that the Tibetan Buddhists, like all who believe in
Buddhism, do not believe in God. As Bertrand Russell used to say, "Buddism is
the most godly of godless religions."

> In these cases, the ideology is the reason for the pogrom against religion.

Yes, that's how I see it too. Ideologues have a tendency to worship the state
(or the entity that represents their ideology) above all else, and they can't
stand to see anyone place anything above that. So, I rather appreciate what
religious nuts have done in the US when they oppose the US government (Waco,
Ruby Ridge, etc.). That sure takes some of the pressure off libertarians and

> None of this is to say atheists are the moral equivalent of theists, but
> atheism in itself does not guarantee one will not murder people with
> differing beliefs, especially theists.

Yeah, that makes sense. Atheists may also be a bit more susceptible to the
latest ideological fad, because they haven't already filled up their brains
with faith memes and systems of belief. As for moral equivalence, I still find
E. O. Wilson's idea most compelling: We moralize based on what our biological
predisposition prompts us to. As Dawkins might (not) say, our selfish genes
don't care what belief system we choose, as long as it allows us to
overpopulate the world with it. When it comes down to why people believe
whatever they do, I think almost everyone inherits their beliefs from their
parents -- not genetically, of course, but via psychological imprinting.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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