Mocking religion

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warumich
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:08 am

bob sterman wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:37 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:37 am
So to sum up Warumich and FairySmall, it would be preferable if the people advocating for science actually did so scientifically.
Can't disagree with that - although I think it needs to be acknowledged that people can't be expected to do their job 24/7. I would say that getting fed up and tweeting something that does nothing to advance science communication is not "incompatible" with being an effective science communicator the rest of the time.

And I'm not sure the argument for a scientific approach was strengthened by the suggestion that that Professorships like the one Roberts has tend to go to those "who look good on TV" (for which Warumich has apologised). Or the analogy with Angelina Jolie being made a Professor of Film (incidentally she has credits as a director, screenwriter and producer - as well as acting).

Finally as a serious aisde - although things are changing with online conferences - I would strongly recommend that people try to avoid using whether someone is seen at conferences as a proxy for engagement with a field - because e.g. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaon ... le/2738415
yea well, but it's also a bit more than that. To take up my analogy with the doctor who doesn't know what an artery is, even if they made the mistake in their own free time you'd hesitate about visiting them with your issues during office hours.

The conference thing is maybe a fair point, but it's just one part of a larger issue. The UK science communication community is fairly close-knit (and that includes both practitioners and researchers), there are other engagement points than conferences, such as mailing lists, journals, policy briefings etc. Of course I don't know every post-doc or science writer, but someone with a high profile professorship should have made an impact, somewhere, somehow, and there is no evidence of any kind of engagement that I can remember seeing. But then of course my eyes aren't everywhere either. But the twitter evidence suggests that she's not really that much into engaging with the community. It's not that important, I wouldn't ordinarily care much, but I would still be justified in saying that the tweet was silly, probably counterproductive, and that she should know better given her job.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by bagpuss » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:21 am

warumich wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:08 am
bob sterman wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:37 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:37 am
So to sum up Warumich and FairySmall, it would be preferable if the people advocating for science actually did so scientifically.
Can't disagree with that - although I think it needs to be acknowledged that people can't be expected to do their job 24/7. I would say that getting fed up and tweeting something that does nothing to advance science communication is not "incompatible" with being an effective science communicator the rest of the time.
yea well, but it's also a bit more than that. To take up my analogy with the doctor who doesn't know what an artery is, even if they made the mistake in their own free time you'd hesitate about visiting them with your issues during office hours.
I don't think the analogy works here, though. The doctor analogy is about lack of knowledge - if someone doesn't know x in their spare time then they're not going to know x when they're working. But you're applying the analogy to a single tweet from someone and suggesting that shows that they don't know x, which I don't agree is the case. The fact that she didn't choose to apply the knowledge for that one tweet does not prove in any way that she doesn't have the knowledge. I'm a statsy data analyst for my job, I know all sorts of stuff about probability, I still buy a lottery ticket sometimes, despite knowing full well just how little chance I have of winning. I'm just (consciously in this case) not applying that knowledge to my behaviour. Alice Roberts' tweet is, I think, much closer to that as an analogy. Or another example - a dietician binge-eating a bucket-load of chocolate over Easter. (S)he knows full well it's really unhealthy but is just not applying that knowledge, either consciously or unconsciously. It doesn't make them a bad dietician, just a normal human being who isn't perfect all the time.

If this weren't Scrutable where such things are common, I'd be quite frankly astonished that people would read so much and put so much effort into discussing one bl..dy tweet from someone who had just got a bit fed up with something and, being human, reacted in a way that probably didn't achieve anything in particular beyond getting her frustration off her chest a bit.

That said, I think a more general discussion around whether mocking religion is a good thing would be interesting, so perhaps it would be worth focussing more on that side of things? I don't have much to contribute to that beyond saying that I occupy some kind of middle ground in believing that religions of all kinds are perfectly valid targets for mockery but agreeing that if you're actually trying to achieve something, then mockery might not be the best way of doing it.

As you were :D

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by causan_dux » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:28 am

JellyandJackson wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 am
I’d be grateful for some very entry level reading suggestions, though.
I'd start with Lyszczynski's De non-existentia Dei, as a celebration of the fact that, while the author was executed for non-belief 332 years ago, it has now been a whole 22 days since blasphemy was finally made legal in Scotland (well, not exactly made legal, but made not quite as illegal as it was).

Just shows you how fast scientific reason, kindly expressed, can move the debate forward. At this rate, by about the year 5000, we may yet see a woman pope (a second one, actually, but we don't mention that). Full gender equality must then surely follow quickly.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:40 am

JellyandJackson wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 am
I’d be grateful for some very entry level reading suggestions, though.
Ohh I don't know about very entry level...

On studies of comparative religion, Ninian Smart's "World religions" doorstopper is a traditional first year uni text. It's quite old so somewhat dated now, but that also means you can pick it up second hand for under a fiver.
A classic in the sociology of religion is Peter Berger's "The sacred canopy"; I don't think it's meant as an entry level text but Berger writes quite lucidly. Also rather dated now
Another classic is William Sims Bainbridge's "The sociology of religious movements". I thought it was easily written, but one of my dissertation students complained that it was too hard going, so maybe my radar is a bit off.
There are a number of textbooks on the sociology of religion, written at the level of second or third year undergraduate sociology students that might be useful. I liked Furseth and Repstad's "An introduction to the sociology of religion: Classical and contemporary perspectives" and Aldridge "Religion in the contemporary world".
On the history of secularism and religion I mentioned Charles Taylor's "A secular age" earlier, I thought it was easily one of the most insightful books I've read, and not just on this subject. But at 700 dense philosophical pages it's going take some proper dedication to get through.
On religion and violence, I'd recommend Juergensmeyer's "Terror in the mind of God".
On religion and science, anything by Peter Harrison is great, particularly "The territories of Science and Religion". I've linked to a talk he's given on youtube earlier in the thread which is maybe a good substitution for reading the book if you're after his main argument.
On specifically US evangelical religions, the classic is Boyer's "When time shall be no more"
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by JellyandJackson » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:41 am

causan_dux wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:28 am
JellyandJackson wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 am
I’d be grateful for some very entry level reading suggestions, though.
I'd start with Lyszczynski's De non-existentia Dei, as a celebration of the fact that, while the author was executed for non-belief 332 years ago, it has now been a whole 22 days since blasphemy was finally made legal in Scotland (well, not exactly made legal, but made not quite as illegal as it was).

Just shows you how fast scientific reason, kindly expressed, can move the debate forward. At this rate, by about the year 5000, we may yet see a woman pope (a second one, actually, but we don't mention that). Full gender equality must then surely follow quickly.
Thanks!
And, as the old joke goes, a female Pope, followed decades later by a female leader of the Labour Party.
(Yes, don’t mention Pope Joan and the introduction of the Special Chair).

Also, thanks warumich for a fantastic looking list. Really appreciated.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:55 am

bagpuss wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:21 am

I don't think the analogy works here, though. The doctor analogy is about lack of knowledge - if someone doesn't know x in their spare time then they're not going to know x when they're working. But you're applying the analogy to a single tweet from someone and suggesting that shows that they don't know x, which I don't agree is the case. The fact that she didn't choose to apply the knowledge for that one tweet does not prove in any way that she doesn't have the knowledge. I'm a statsy data analyst for my job, I know all sorts of stuff about probability, I still buy a lottery ticket sometimes, despite knowing full well just how little chance I have of winning. I'm just (consciously in this case) not applying that knowledge to my behaviour. Alice Roberts' tweet is, I think, much closer to that as an analogy. Or another example - a dietician binge-eating a bucket-load of chocolate over Easter. (S)he knows full well it's really unhealthy but is just not applying that knowledge, either consciously or unconsciously. It doesn't make them a bad dietician, just a normal human being who isn't perfect all the time.

If this weren't Scrutable where such things are common, I'd be quite frankly astonished that people would read so much and put so much effort into discussing one bl..dy tweet from someone who had just got a bit fed up with something and, being human, reacted in a way that probably didn't achieve anything in particular beyond getting her frustration off her chest a bit.

That said, I think a more general discussion around whether mocking religion is a good thing would be interesting, so perhaps it would be worth focussing more on that side of things? I don't have much to contribute to that beyond saying that I occupy some kind of middle ground in believing that religions of all kinds are perfectly valid targets for mockery but agreeing that if you're actually trying to achieve something, then mockery might not be the best way of doing it.

As you were :D
Ok, maybe the better analogy is Gordon Brown and bigotgate, if we imagine he'd made that comment in his own free time rather than when out campaigning (I don't think that would have made a difference to the scandal). As a labour party politician his job was to make people vote labour, not to alienate potential voters into not voting labour. Even if he had made that remark in his own free time you'd imagine that sort of thing would earn a politician a dressing-down from their boss (if Brown hadn't been the boss at the time obviously, all analogies fail somewhere).
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by dyqik » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:58 am

(he still should have had a dressing down from his campaign manager/other advisor)

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Stephanie » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:03 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:21 am
warumich wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:08 am
bob sterman wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:37 am


Can't disagree with that - although I think it needs to be acknowledged that people can't be expected to do their job 24/7. I would say that getting fed up and tweeting something that does nothing to advance science communication is not "incompatible" with being an effective science communicator the rest of the time.
yea well, but it's also a bit more than that. To take up my analogy with the doctor who doesn't know what an artery is, even if they made the mistake in their own free time you'd hesitate about visiting them with your issues during office hours.
I don't think the analogy works here, though. The doctor analogy is about lack of knowledge - if someone doesn't know x in their spare time then they're not going to know x when they're working. But you're applying the analogy to a single tweet from someone and suggesting that shows that they don't know x, which I don't agree is the case. The fact that she didn't choose to apply the knowledge for that one tweet does not prove in any way that she doesn't have the knowledge. I'm a statsy data analyst for my job, I know all sorts of stuff about probability, I still buy a lottery ticket sometimes, despite knowing full well just how little chance I have of winning. I'm just (consciously in this case) not applying that knowledge to my behaviour. Alice Roberts' tweet is, I think, much closer to that as an analogy. Or another example - a dietician binge-eating a bucket-load of chocolate over Easter. (S)he knows full well it's really unhealthy but is just not applying that knowledge, either consciously or unconsciously. It doesn't make them a bad dietician, just a normal human being who isn't perfect all the time.

If this weren't Scrutable where such things are common, I'd be quite frankly astonished that people would read so much and put so much effort into discussing one bl..dy tweet from someone who had just got a bit fed up with something and, being human, reacted in a way that probably didn't achieve anything in particular beyond getting her frustration off her chest a bit.

That said, I think a more general discussion around whether mocking religion is a good thing would be interesting, so perhaps it would be worth focussing more on that side of things? I don't have much to contribute to that beyond saying that I occupy some kind of middle ground in believing that religions of all kinds are perfectly valid targets for mockery but agreeing that if you're actually trying to achieve something, then mockery might not be the best way of doing it.

As you were :D
I mean tbf, looking back at the OP, I think the discussion was supposed to be more broad. Warumich acknowledged both that it was a silly tweet, and that he had a longer explanation, but also that it might not have been what was asked, or whatever.
Ok so joking aside, I had prepared a long explanation of why it's silly, but then realised that wasn't what your question was. I don't know, as I said I don't think I've noticed a change particularly, but I'd see that as a good thing. Happy to go on with the originally planned rant if there's an interest in that here though
It was only after Fishnut expressed an interest in reading it, that warumich posted a slightly longer explanation.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by causan_dux » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:29 pm

warumich wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:55 am


Ok, maybe the better analogy is Gordon Brown and bigotgate, if we imagine he'd made that comment in his own free time rather than when out campaigning (I don't think that would have made a difference to the scandal). As a labour party politician his job was to make people vote labour, not to alienate potential voters into not voting labour. Even if he had made that remark in his own free time you'd imagine that sort of thing would earn a politician a dressing-down from their boss (if Brown hadn't been the boss at the time obviously, all analogies fail somewhere).
It's not comparable at all. It was nothing to do with public communication whatsoever. Brown made that comment in private, to an aide. He was unlucky that it was picked up by a Sky microphone that had been left on.

If he'd made it in, say, a strategy meeting in No. 10, it would have clearly been perfectly OK.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by bob sterman » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:35 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:21 am
If this weren't Scrutable where such things are common, I'd be quite frankly astonished that people would read so much and put so much effort into discussing one bl..dy tweet from someone who had just got a bit fed up with something and, being human, reacted in a way that probably didn't achieve anything in particular beyond getting her frustration off her chest a bit.
I like to think that on a "Scrutable Christianity" forum somewhere a load of experts in religious communication (preaching? evangalism?) are berating a Professor for Public Engagement with Religion or a prominent Bishop for a counterproductive tweet sent at a particularly tactless time - because they feel it will alientate the athiests rather than win them over. While some other folk on the forum opine about how they can understand the urge to tweet and mock like that, as they are fed up with atheists telling them the resurrection wasn't real, there ain't no heaven, it's just bread and wine etc.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:50 pm

causan_dux wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:29 pm
warumich wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:55 am


Ok, maybe the better analogy is Gordon Brown and bigotgate, if we imagine he'd made that comment in his own free time rather than when out campaigning (I don't think that would have made a difference to the scandal). As a labour party politician his job was to make people vote labour, not to alienate potential voters into not voting labour. Even if he had made that remark in his own free time you'd imagine that sort of thing would earn a politician a dressing-down from their boss (if Brown hadn't been the boss at the time obviously, all analogies fail somewhere).
It's not comparable at all. It was nothing to do with public communication whatsoever. Brown made that comment in private, to an aide. He was unlucky that it was picked up by a Sky microphone that had been left on.

If he'd made it in, say, a strategy meeting in No. 10, it would have clearly been perfectly OK.
Analogies only ever go to a certain point, I don't think it's too important to quibble over the details. At the end she is employed by a university that wants to enhance the public engagement with science, if the person they employ actively works against that, and (though I'm extrapolating) doesn't appear to even take in interest in the subject, then the university may well question whether this is money well spent. I'm not calling for anyone to be sacked, but I've seen people get a bollocking from their employer for less.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by JellyandJackson » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:30 pm

bob sterman wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:35 pm
bagpuss wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:21 am
If this weren't Scrutable where such things are common, I'd be quite frankly astonished that people would read so much and put so much effort into discussing one bl..dy tweet from someone who had just got a bit fed up with something and, being human, reacted in a way that probably didn't achieve anything in particular beyond getting her frustration off her chest a bit.
I like to think that on a "Scrutable Christianity" forum somewhere a load of experts in religious communication (preaching? evangalism?) are berating a Professor for Public Engagement with Religion or a prominent Bishop for a counterproductive tweet sent at a particularly tactless time - because they feel it will alientate the athiests rather than win them over. While some other folk on the forum opine about how they can understand the urge to tweet and mock like that, as they are fed up with atheists telling them the resurrection wasn't real, there ain't no heaven, it's just bread and wine etc.
This is an interesting point. I wish I knew where the experts in religious communication are. As a (relative) insider, I’ve no idea. CofE comms as an organisational being is awful Mind you, CofE management in general is pretty awful. Lay folk do criticise bishops and others in authority / with big gobs / large reach etc (and also try to reduce damage, point out harmful stuff, though I’m reluctant to mention that, it looks like I’m asking for cookies. I’m not).

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:37 pm

Tbf, in general these days, it's the laity in the C of E organisation who tend to be behind the curve, rather than the clergy, which perhaps gives a sense of where its sensibilities are these days.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by JellyandJackson » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:01 pm

I think it depends on the topic in hand and the level in the hierarchy. IIRC, for eg, the consecration of women bishops was stymied by the house of laity at General Synod, which had been stuffed with conservative evangelicals. They’re going to try to do the same with equal marriage.

Anyway, that’s an aside from mocking religion - though it’s further ammo for those who want to do so, I suppose.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by FairySmall » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:10 pm

bob sterman wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:37 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:37 am
So to sum up Warumich and FairySmall, it would be preferable if the people advocating for science actually did so scientifically.
Can't disagree with that - although I think it needs to be acknowledged that people can't be expected to do their job 24/7. I would say that getting fed up and tweeting something that does nothing to advance science communication is not "incompatible" with being an effective science communicator the rest of the time.
Yes, that's very true. Given that I'm a professional communicator, my tweets are terribly sporadic. Partly, this is because I self censor a lot so I'd rather say nothing than accidentally break my own rules, even if it's in a personal capacity. I'm just starting some work with local BAME community organisations and if I'd inadvertently said something racist or offensive on Twitter then it wouldn't exactly help us get off to a good start*. I realise I hold myself to a possibly overly high standard and I shouldn't expect others to do the same, but perhaps I do a little, especially for someone relatively high profile/influential. Let's hope that Alice Roberts doesn't have to do any sensitive engagement with some Christians who might not appreciate her tweets. But it's totally fair that we all have off days...

* And given the historical context of my uni, there's already plenty of baggage.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:36 am

Stephanie wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:52 pm
(As an aside, I suspect anyone interested in influencing the views of children and teenagers would be better on YouTube or Instagram).
Considering the stereotype of the rebellious nature of teenagers, maybe mocking their parents' religion is an effective way to convince them.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:39 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:44 am
Here's a list of fun ideas for professors of public engagement with science to really ramp home the "religious people are stupid c.nts and humanists are massively superior to them" message which Roberts is supportive of here. Which of those would people here support? Which ones would bring the most people To Science do you think?
Maybe we should look at history and how religions do it. That adds another couple of options:
  • Threaten to torture them to death unless they agree with you
  • Invade their lands, and indulge in plenty of vandalism, theft, rape, and murder
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:46 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:39 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:44 am
Here's a list of fun ideas for professors of public engagement with science to really ramp home the "religious people are stupid c.nts and humanists are massively superior to them" message which Roberts is supportive of here. Which of those would people here support? Which ones would bring the most people To Science do you think?
Maybe we should look at history and how religions do it. That adds another couple of options:
  • Threaten to torture them to death unless they agree with you
  • Invade their lands, and indulge in plenty of vandalism, theft, rape, and murder
I know that it's tempting to look at history and see what has been done by religious people and conclude that the problem is religion. The problem is that in times when 99% of the population is religious, almost all crimes are committed by religious people. It's like noticing that almost all murderers in Mexican prisons speak Spanish and concluding that Speaking Spanish is a bad thing (I mean, I suspect most Mexican murderers will also be catholic, omg!). Correlation, as I'm sure I don't have to point out in a science forum, does not imply causation.


There are many religious beliefs that lead to bad things, such as whatever the inquisition had mobilized to torture and subjugate Mexicans, or the bible passages that were used to justify slavery. But it's the content of those beliefs that need to be challenged, not the fact that they are "religious" in nature (in scare quotes because what this is precisely anyway is a whole different can of worms). There are also many good religious beliefs, and likewise they are good because of their content, not because they are religious.

At the end everybody has some kind of belief about what the world is, how it works and what our place is within it. Some of these beliefs are true, some are not, some are justified, some are not, some are confidently and sincerely held, some allow for some doubt. Some are sh.t and violent, some are benevolent and gentle. Christianity, though responsible for lots of bad sh.t, was also often in content not half as bad as some of the sh.t it replaced. The Aztecs practised human sacrifice, the Romans were cool with slavery. One of the reasons why the early Christian community spread so effectively in the 2nd and 3rd centuries Roman Empire was not because they were proselytising more effectively, but because their code of ethics made them care for the unfortunate. Roman Christians cared for sick neighbours, something unheard of at the time, and importantly they didn't kill off any of their children if they couldn't afford them (infanticide was common and accepted practice in the empire). So basically the numbers of Christians grew because they had longer life expectancies and lower child mortality rates (Stark 1996). It also made them poorer, so there was not much material incentive for Romans to convert. Why am I telling you this... oh yes, when you rail against Christianity keep in mind that they've also changed the world for the better by crowding out religions that were in sum not quite so good. Yes slavery came back a millennium later, but that's because beliefs change while people by and large are still the same proportion of a..eholes they always were. At least, unlike in Roman paganism, Christians knew in the back of their minds that slavery is not good which is why most of the abolitionists were people of faith (of course there were pretty few actual atheists at the time, so this too is a bit of a Mexican murderer scenario - but at least note that being a person of faith did not stop them from advocating against slavery).

Stark, R (1996): The rise of Christianity. Princeton: Princeton University Press
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Fishnut » Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:58 am

warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:46 am
One of the reasons why the early Christian community spread so effectively in the 2nd and 3rd centuries Roman Empire was not because they were proselytising more effectively, but because their code of ethics made them care for the unfortunate. Roman Christians cared for sick neighbours, something unheard of at the time, and importantly they didn't kill off any of their children if they couldn't afford them (infanticide was common and accepted practice in the empire).
This reminded me of something I mentioned in the zoom chat that sparked this thread but haven't mentioned here, Tom Holland's book Dominion is about the impact of Christianity in shaping the western world. In a video interview he explained that part of the inspiration for the book was when he was writing his books on ancient Greece and Rome the moral and ethical underpinnings of those cultures were so different to our own that they were hard to explain to modern audiences. He realised that they're so alien to us as Christian morality has permeated our world so completely we don't even recognise it as Christian any more which was the genesis of the book. It's a really interesting and provocative book. I'm about halfway through but I want to read it again already.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by bob sterman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:58 am

No need to mock when the head of the CofE is busy telling people that being in the Royal Family is like doing "life without parole" and that pets go to heaven...

https://www.ft.com/content/8e831398-8a4 ... 42278e5ebb

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Gfamily » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:27 am

bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:58 am
No need to mock when the head of the CofE is busy telling people that being in the Royal Family is like doing "life without parole" and that pets go to heaven...

https://www.ft.com/content/8e831398-8a4 ... 42278e5ebb
Except that
He isn't
It is a valid view
He didn't say that.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am

warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:46 am
I know that it's tempting to look at history and see what has been done by religious people and conclude that the problem is religion. The problem is that in times when 99% of the population is religious, almost all crimes are committed by religious people. It's like noticing that almost all murderers in Mexican prisons speak Spanish and concluding that Speaking Spanish is a bad thing (I mean, I suspect most Mexican murderers will also be catholic, omg!). Correlation, as I'm sure I don't have to point out in a science forum, does not imply causation.


There are many religious beliefs that lead to bad things, such as whatever the inquisition had mobilized to torture and subjugate Mexicans, or the bible passages that were used to justify slavery. But it's the content of those beliefs that need to be challenged, not the fact that they are "religious" in nature (in scare quotes because what this is precisely anyway is a whole different can of worms). There are also many good religious beliefs, and likewise they are good because of their content, not because they are religious.

At the end everybody has some kind of belief about what the world is, how it works and what our place is within it. Some of these beliefs are true, some are not, some are justified, some are not, some are confidently and sincerely held, some allow for some doubt. Some are sh.t and violent, some are benevolent and gentle. Christianity, though responsible for lots of bad sh.t, was also often in content not half as bad as some of the sh.t it replaced. The Aztecs practised human sacrifice, the Romans were cool with slavery. One of the reasons why the early Christian community spread so effectively in the 2nd and 3rd centuries Roman Empire was not because they were proselytising more effectively, but because their code of ethics made them care for the unfortunate. Roman Christians cared for sick neighbours, something unheard of at the time, and importantly they didn't kill off any of their children if they couldn't afford them (infanticide was common and accepted practice in the empire). So basically the numbers of Christians grew because they had longer life expectancies and lower child mortality rates (Stark 1996). It also made them poorer, so there was not much material incentive for Romans to convert. Why am I telling you this... oh yes, when you rail against Christianity keep in mind that they've also changed the world for the better by crowding out religions that were in sum not quite so good. Yes slavery came back a millennium later, but that's because beliefs change while people by and large are still the same proportion of a..eholes they always were. At least, unlike in Roman paganism, Christians knew in the back of their minds that slavery is not good which is why most of the abolitionists were people of faith (of course there were pretty few actual atheists at the time, so this too is a bit of a Mexican murderer scenario - but at least note that being a person of faith did not stop them from advocating against slavery).

Stark, R (1996): The rise of Christianity. Princeton: Princeton University Press
It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.

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bob sterman
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by bob sterman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:49 am

Gfamily wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:27 am
bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:58 am
No need to mock when the head of the CofE is busy telling people that being in the Royal Family is like doing "life without parole" and that pets go to heaven...

https://www.ft.com/content/8e831398-8a4 ... 42278e5ebb
Except that
He isn't
It is a valid view
He didn't say that.
The exact quotes are...
"It's life without parole, isn't it? If you go back to the 1930s, Edward VIII - he was still a celeb and followed everywhere once he'd abdicated. We expect them to be superhuman."
"Given the fondness we have for our dog, our current dog and the previous one, I am quite prepared to believe that pets go to heaven."
OK - he's not "busy" saying it. But this is what he said.

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shpalman
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:55 am

“He’s a really good writer. And a really good speaker. I think he’s fascinating,”

Justin Welby is talking about Jordan Peterson.
molto tricky

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shpalman
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:59 am

bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:49 am
Gfamily wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:27 am
bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:58 am
No need to mock when the head of the CofE is busy telling people that being in the Royal Family is like doing "life without parole" and that pets go to heaven...

https://www.ft.com/content/8e831398-8a4 ... 42278e5ebb
Except that
He isn't
It is a valid view
He didn't say that.
The exact quotes are...
"It's life without parole, isn't it? If you go back to the 1930s, Edward VIII - he was still a celeb and followed everywhere once he'd abdicated. We expect them to be superhuman."
"Given the fondness we have for our dog, our current dog and the previous one, I am quite prepared to believe that pets go to heaven."
OK - he's not "busy" saying it. But this is what he said.
Before that about pets, we have:
“I have never been asked that question before.” He pauses for reflection.
... which encapsulates the "dunno but I'll make something up about it on the spot if you like" attitude to most of what the church thinks nowadays.
molto tricky

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