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Thread: Evil religions

  1. #1

    Evil religions

    Namaste,

    On what basis do we decide that certain religions are evil? If one points to certain dubious verses in that religion (verses that exhort followers to kill, plunder etc.), couldn't that be explained away as figure of speech, such as jihad is an inner battle, and that slaying enemies means slaying enemies like anger, jealousy, greed, and so on?

    Besides figure of speech, context could also explain this away. Muslims, for instance, could argue that since Mohammed was facing many attacks from his enemies, his language merely reflected the reality of his situation. Obviously, a person who's being unfairly attacked is going to say, "Defend yourself, deceive your enemy" etc. etc. He isn't going to say, "Be a nice chap and get thrashed."

    Finally, we have translation problems. The same verse could be translated in many different ways, since not many people are familiar with the language. This also leads to confusion.

    So there are three problems - we can mistake metaphor for reality, get the wrong translations, or miss context altogether, upon which we could wrongly conclude that certain religions are evil.

    Bottom line, it is impossible to prove that any religion is all bad or all good, since one argument can easily be countered with another. It's all about interpretation, since it's impossible to discover the absolute truth with just a few verses from a book.

  2. #2
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    Re: Evil religions

    We look at the history of the sampradaya of the religion to understand the meaning of their textbooks and at the actions of the people who followed that religion throughout history. We have no business giving different interpretations to their scriptures.

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    Re: Evil religions

    Why not look at the actions of the people from these religions instead?

    However if we look by what you present, if a certain "religion" is merely a political treatise made for a specific point in history, what's the archetypical religious value of it?

    I'm quoting something Bryon posted on Huff Post (from a book that is on my wishlist now):

    As the noted Egyptologi­st and Moses scholar, Dr. Jan Assmann states in his book, 'The Price of Monotheism­':

    "Primary religions evolve historical­ly over hundreds and thousands of years….Rel­igions of this kind include the cultic and divine worlds of Egyptian, Babylonian and Greco-Roma­n antiquity, among many others. Secondary religions, by contrast, are those that owe their existence to an act of revelation and foundation­, build on primary religions, and typically differenti­ate themselves from the latter by denouncing them as pagan, idolatry and superstiti­on. All secondary religions … look down on the primary religions as pagan….The­se religions can therefore perhaps be characteri­zed most adequately by the term “counterre­ligion.” For these religions, and for these religions alone, the truth to be proclaimed comes with an enemy to be fought." (pp. 3-4)

    "The concept of "counterre­ligion" is intended to draw out the potential for negation that inheres within secondary religions. These religions are also inherently "intoleran­t"...Two hundred and fifty years ago, David Hume not only argued that polytheism is far older than monotheism­, he also advanced the related hypothesis that polytheism is tolerant, whereas monotheism is intolerant­...Seconda­ry religion must be intolerant­, that is, they must have a clear conception of what they feel to be incompatib­le with their truths if these truths are to exert the life-shapi­ng authority, normativit­y, and binding force that they claim for themselves­." (p. 14)
    Last edited by Adhvagat; 07 April 2011 at 11:20 AM.

  4. Re: Evil religions

    Who were Muhammad's enemies ? All non Muslims
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  5. #5

    Re: Evil religions

    Actions of which people - the average people or the extremists?

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    Re: Evil religions

    Quote Originally Posted by astrostudent View Post
    Actions of which people - the average people or the extremists?
    Well I think that even if you go with the average, it's pretty easy to see that evangelical Christianity is an example of an evil religion. I believe we can all agree on the evil of practicing religious conversion, which is the evangelical's primary mission. Can I assume there's no argument here?

    As for something like Islam the problem is a bit different. Most Muslims will remain silent until they exist in large numbers, and then they will begin political revolutions in democratic nations. I believe that Islam is evil, but it's hard to pin down what the behavior of the "average Muslim" is.

  7. Re: Evil religions

    Quote Originally Posted by astrostudent View Post
    Actions of which people - the average people or the extremists?
    What average ? I am talking about Majority
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    Re: Evil religions

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    Could it not be evil people that practice certain religions?

    Yet I struggle with this whole thing of evil. I know it is there yet it seems it is just 'bent' actions that are without light.

    praām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  9. #9

    Re: Evil religions

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    Could it not be evil people that practice certain religions?

    Yet I struggle with this whole thing of evil. I know it is there yet it seems it is just 'bent' actions that are without light.

    praām
    I, for one, do not believe that any religion is evil (because as I explained, it's a matter of interpretation), but at the same time I cannot get myself to believe there are evil people, either. I cannot be the judge, no human being can be the judge of another. Only God can judge.

    That's why I believe that everyone is pure, and if at all they do 'evil', it's only because of circumstances (and not because they're evil by nature).

  10. #10
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    Re: Evil religions

    So what are you trying to say? Islam is not so bad? What about Christianity?

    It's easy to hide behind the relativization that there's no evil, they're still ignorant, killing because of a book.

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