Killing in the name of......

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Thinking critical
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Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 14th, 2018, 10:15 am

I came across an interesting challenge recently, regarding the consequences of our beliefs.
The question proposed was wether or not anyone could think of a crime or action resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering that one would "only" cause due to the absence of belief in god(s)?
The question was then reversed; can anyone think of crime or action resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering because of there belief in a personal god?

By crime and unnecessary pain and suffering I am referring to intentional acts of violence killing, torture and forms of abuse.

The use of belief and absence of belief in god(s) refers to not just the belief itself, but the influence of any philosophies which align with either position of an individual relative to the specific belief. Example, the atheist would not pray to Jesus for forgiveness out of fear of judgment.

The nature of this topic was originally used in the context of a debate regarding morality. It is not in any way intended to depict any position as greater or lesser moral agent.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Alias » April 14th, 2018, 12:09 pm

People don't kill one another out of belief.
"In the name of ______ " - fill in any god, king, ideal, nation, leader, race, cause, commandment, civilization, political faction, social construct -
is an excuse for doing what humans do anyway. If there isn't a slogan handy, they'll do it for love, hate, anger, revenge, ambition or greed. Or just get drunk or stoned out of their gourds to suppress the inhibition.
It's not religion that makes us mad; it's our madness that gives rise to religions.

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 14th, 2018, 6:30 pm

Hi Alias, you said
people don't kill one another out of belief
Hence why I specifically stated that the use of belief also encompasses the philosophy of those beliefs.
Belief is a psychological disposition, there for it will influence our ability to reason and make decisions. My point is the absence of belief in something must also have an effect our on behaviour.
There is no excuse for doing what we do. Blaming
God, King, ideal, nation, leader, race, cause, commandment, civilisation, political faction, social constructs -
These are simply influential factors people may use to justify an action.
For people to act in ways, which when in the absence of sharing the same passionate belief - another individual cannot relate to the reasoning process; it is reasonable to assert that some belief systems may have a tendency to cause irrational behaviour which we would not expect to see in it's absence.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Alias » April 14th, 2018, 11:40 pm

Thinking critical wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 6:30 pm
[ people don't kill one another out of belief]
Hence why I specifically stated that the use of belief also encompasses the philosophy of those beliefs.
What's the difference between a belief and its philosophy?
Belief is a psychological disposition, there for it will influence our ability to reason and make decisions.
What makes you think so?
My point is the absence of belief in something must also have an effect our on behaviour.
Where is the control group to verify that hypothesis?
Where is the "absence of passionate belief" in human history?
There is no excuse for doing what we do.
Is this a judgment? By what authority?
Blaming
God, King, ideal, nation, leader, race, cause, commandment, civilisation, political faction, social constructs -
They're not blamed; they're proclaimed the greatest good and serving them is considered the highest of men's virtues.
These are simply influential factors people may use to justify an action.
There is nothing simple about group cohesion and identity, nor in the sacrifice people are willing to make for their cause and their leaders.
They generally don't need to justify whatever action the leader commands, and they're not held to account for those actions taken in the line of duty - unless they lose the war and are tried for its crimes.
For people to act in ways, which when in the absence of sharing the same passionate belief - another individual cannot relate to the reasoning process;
Which other individual? People who share the same belief don't all act in the same way; they don't even interpret the belief in the same way. A concerted group action is usually decided by a leader; all the rest follow - for whatever their reasons are. But most of them do want to follow the leader who calls them to arms, rather than the pacifist who exhorts them to avoid violence. Even Christians, whose central icon and object of veneration specifically instructed them to "turn the other cheek", enthusiastically embark on crusades to a foreign land when a hawkish pope calls them. Ten times they did that! During those same 200 years, there were 60 wars, invasion, civil wars and rebellions in Europe and the near east.
All those guys either passionately believed in something - other than taking the Holy Land - or passionately wanted something.
it is reasonable to assert that some belief systems may have a tendency to cause irrational behaviour which we would not expect to see in it's absence.
I don't see the case made for the belief as causative agent. Nor even for assuming that violence is irrational.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Spectrum » April 16th, 2018, 2:04 am

The question was then reversed; can anyone think of crime or action resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering because of there belief in a personal god?
I believe this is very obvious and very evident from what is going on at present by SOME evil prone Muslims killing, raping, torturing and committing all sort of violence and evils on non-Muslims in the name of their God, religion and prophet.
2:216. Warfare [l-qitālu] is ordained [kutiba: prescribed] for you [Muslims], though it is hateful unto you [Muslims]; but it may happen that ye [Muslims] hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.
The term [l-qitālu] connote very strong sense of aggression in relation to killing opponents.
The above is merely one verse but that are hundreds near direct and thousands indirect verses that support the above aggression within the Qur-an.
It is argued by apologists that verses must take into account contexts, but the jihadists do not give a damn with contexts and no one on Earth can do anything with their literal views within the holy texts.

Note adapting from Steven Weinberg's quote;
  • Religion [theistic] is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion [as inspired by commands from their God].
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 16th, 2018, 8:22 am

Alias wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 11:40 pm

What's the difference between a belief and its philosophy?
The belief is what we think is true, it's philosophies would be the set of principles we adhere to within the framework of the belief system (as per my previous example).

The following comments can be addressed simultaneously

What makes you think so?
And

Where is the control group to verify that hypothesis?
Where is the "absence of passionate belief" in human history?
And

I don't see the case made for the belief as causative agent. Nor even for assuming that violence is irrational.
Human behaviour when anylised by pyscologists and social sciences is often looked at within a framework familiar to the causality principle. Generally speaking people have a reason or motive to do, think, behave, speak e.c.t in a certain way. The mechanism which drives the causal process is at its core driven by belief. This is evident within every day life, however most of us are completely unaware of the cognitive process which is driving our day to day routines - much of what we do is seen as common sense, however ever common sense is simply a rational belief.
Why do you turn on the jug to boil water? Why do you put toast in the toaster? Why do you look both ways before crossing the road?
Now some may say we do these things because we know the outcomes. However epistemologically, we can not know that the outcome is true before it has happened we can only believe it to be true......therefore it is a rational belief or common sense.
If you don't believe this to be the case, I would be very interested to know why?
Also please note, I never said violence was irrational.
There is no excuse for doing what we do.
Is this a judgment? By what authority?
This is intended to be a constructive criticism of our culture; the crowd mentality where people have less internal conflict justifying there actions when in the company of like minded people.
Blaming
God, King, ideal, nation, leader, race, cause, commandment, civilisation, political faction, social constructs -
They're not blamed; they're proclaimed the greatest good and serving them is considered the highest of men's virtues.
This is a matter of opinion......
These are simply influential factors people may use to justify an action.
There is nothing simple about group cohesion and identity, nor in the sacrifice people are willing to make for their cause and their leaders.
They generally don't need to justify whatever action the leader commands, and they're not held to account for those actions taken in the line of duty - unless they lose the war and are tried for its crimes.
I agree, my original post was referring to the acts of individuals more so than groups.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Alias » April 16th, 2018, 1:59 pm

my original post was referring to the acts of individuals more so than groups.
And yet all the religious violence happens in groups. As does the nationalist/patriotic violence. As does the tribal/racial violence.
Most individual violence is committed, not "in the name of" anything, but from strong emotion, or for personal gain.
In the case of exceptions, where a single saboteur, cadre, partisan, terrorist or soldier undertakes a mission of destruction against the enemy, it is usually on assignment from a larger organization. This would be as true of the pro-life advocate killing a gynecologist as it would be for a Russian spy killing a Russian traitor or a Tennessee policeman killing a black protester.
These belief-driven actions are initiated by individuals at the head of their groups, manipulating and focusing the individual aggression of their members to serve their particular agenda. The leader wants something (usually power) in a fully rational way and sells it to a mob through narrative. The followers act in a rational way to accomplish what they believe is a good and just outcome.
Non of it could happen if they were not predisposed to violence. They are simply expressing in a common cause.

Also please note, I never said violence was irrational.
Then I misunderstood this:
For people to act in ways, which when in the absence of sharing the same passionate belief - another individual cannot relate to the reasoning process; it is reasonable to assert that some belief systems may have a tendency to cause irrational behaviour which we would not expect to see in it's absence.
What does it mean?
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 17th, 2018, 6:32 am

Alias wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 1:59 pm


And yet all the religious violence happens in groups. As does the nationalist/patriotic violence. As does the tribal/racial violence.
Just to be clear the "OP" was not specific to just acts of violence.
Moving forward, to say all religious violence happens in groups is simply wrong. I know in a latter post you mentioned the exception to your rule, you have then however attempted to tie the "exception rule" back to a sect of the group mentality proposition.

More to the point, the post was aimed more so at the acts of individuals who believe in a particular religious proposition (god exists) compared to those who do not share the belief.
Belief in god is often accompanied by certain ideologies that one would not expect to see in the absence of the belief.
Most individual violence is committed, not "in the name of" anything, but from strong emotion, or for personal gain.
And this is what interests me. Emotion is in general terms a reaction to an experience, both physical and mental. The nature of the emotion is specific to the perception of the experience, in other words we have a full spectrum of potential emotional responses. If the spectrum of responses exist in a state of "potential" it follows that within some step of this process of responding, there must be a causal factor. If this was not the case then all emotional responses to personal experiences would be random.
Now, with regards to emotionally fuelled behaviour, weather it be physical or verbal in response to acts which conflict with religious ideologies, it is still a web of belief systems which lies at the core of the issue.
We wouldn't expect an atheist to try an convince another Human being that they are condemned to an eternity of torture because they chose to marry someone of the same sex an at the same time feel somehow righteous about it.
Also please note, I never said violence was irrational.
Then I misunderstood this:
For people to act in ways, which when in the absence of sharing the same passionate belief - another individual cannot relate to the reasoning process; it is reasonable to assert that some belief systems may have a tendency to cause irrational behaviour which we would not expect to see in it's absence.
What does it mean?


The irrational behaviour was referring to acts like the example above. It would not be
rational for someone to pray for a miracle if they did not believe in gods nor would we expect an atheist to take offence to an ideaology which conflicted with a religious one.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Alias » April 17th, 2018, 8:39 am

Just to be clear the "OP" was not specific to just acts of violence.
By crime and unnecessary pain and suffering I am referring to intentional acts of violence killing, torture and forms of abuse.
Well, you've got that sewn up pretty tight.

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Eduk » April 18th, 2018, 7:02 pm

What is a greater or lesser moral agent?

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 19th, 2018, 5:16 am

Alias wrote:
April 17th, 2018, 8:39 am
Just to be clear the "OP" was not specific to just acts of violence.
By crime and unnecessary pain and suffering I am referring to intentional acts of violence killing, torture and forms of abuse.
Well, you've got that sewn up pretty tight.
Forms of abuse includes psychological abuse, making someone feel inferior or unworthy.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 19th, 2018, 5:17 am

Eduk wrote:
April 18th, 2018, 7:02 pm
What is a greater or lesser moral agent?
Hi Eduk, could you please elaborate? Thank you.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Eduk » April 19th, 2018, 5:22 am

you said
It is not in any way intended to depict any position as greater or lesser moral agent.
so what is a greater or lesser moral agent? I'm asking you to elaborate.

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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Thinking critical » April 19th, 2018, 5:55 am

Sorry, thanks for that. By agent I was referring to person.
I wanted to ensure that the intent of the thread was not to portray someone as immoral because of their beliefs. I was more interested in how belief in a proposition could influence desicions, actions and behaviour compared to someone who did not share the same belief.
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Re: Killing in the name of......

Post by Eduk » April 19th, 2018, 1:59 pm

Sorry I just don't get it. If harm can be identified and harm is defined as undesirable then surely you have to morally judge people? I'm not saying it's straight forward but if one action can be demonstrated to be 'better' than another and one belief can be shown to be more 'reasonable' than another then it seems to be fair to say that some people are more reasonable than others. Of course a very difficult thing to quantify. But then isn't that the whole point in the question in the first place? To show that unreasonable beliefs lead to undesirable outcomes?

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