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Political discussions and other rants about useless things like culture

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by Matse, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Matse

    Matse Customized individuum

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    1. Feta can taste great in a salad.

    2. Villain, you are definitely right that organized religions have caused harm, war and death, but to pretend getting rid of religion would be the world's panacea is a bit pretentious. Overall a lot more wars were mostly politically motivated than religiously. Even things like the persecution of Jews in the middle ages were mostly political. People had bad lives and the Jews were easy to blame since many of them were richer than the Christians. It was all about very mundane jealousy and letting out some anger on the next available scapegoat.
    The Arab and Persian world doesn't hate the western world because we are Christians and Jews, but because we behave like arrogant assholes in world politics don't grant them the same rights we grant ourselves.
     
  2. DisplayofCharacter

    DisplayofCharacter Are You Scared Enough?

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    I find this to be partially inaccurate. Though I don't have any facts on hand to support or disprove the validity of the "rights" issue, I believe the main difference between the two is cultural. Yes, it is politically motivated as well, but its my understanding that its one big amalgam of culture/religion/politics in one big spear as opposed to three branches forming one trident. I could be misinformed, but that's just my opinion.
     
  3. Wolfman Von Jones

    Wolfman Von Jones The trouble with you

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    You may disagree with my choice of preferred action that should be taken to stop the spread of religious extremism, but to ignore that threat altogether is, indeed, ignorance, and nothing else.

    -Villain

    Dear Villain,

    You're a fag.

    Love,
    Nick
     
  4. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    I've been discussing religion on these pages before, often with the same people who are debating the subject right now. It's no mystery that Villain and I don't see eye to eye on the matter, although on the surface I might even seem like a better candidate for sharing the same view: I'm an agnostic who has never had any affiliation with religion.

    Let me just mention something I've noticed in people's replies to Villain: it doesn't really help to look for flaws in his logic, because there aren't. If religions are responsible for conflict and if you think conflict is damaging mankind, then you gotta try and get rid of religions. It's sound reasoning. I'd buy it.

    Our common ground is quickly swept from under our feet, however, leaving merely amicable tolerance for the other person's point of view! Because I would disagree on (a) religions being responsible for strife and division among men, as I'm convinced they are one of the effects; (b) religions being something that can be taken away from the minds of men at all, as I believe they channel people's spirituality one way or the other: not being a follower requires their existence to shape one's own feelings towards the transcendental*.

    In short, Villain's stance towards religion sounds to me like: "we should have no more CEO's, because they are responsible for people's unquenchable thirst for money."

    Religions are a product of man's invention - which is not the same as saying gods are, by the way - and I think they necessarily reflect cultural and social tensions. They even evolved to mirror changes, and I believe it naive to assume they've somehow lagged behind dragging their feet reluctant to leave the Middle Ages while mankind reached for the light of Reason and Science: we're still pretty horrible, in case you haven't noticed.

    They're also quite inextricable from our lives, and by that I don't just mean Villain's purpose is technically impossible to achieve. Random people just "believing whatever they damn well like" without any sort of organization, sense of community-- even, if you like, intrusion in daily habits and collective thinking, is a chimaera. Reform? Sure. Destruction? A dream.

    Actually - and believe me when I say I mean no offence at all by this - a childish dream. The passion that is implied (and employed, to an extent) in adding the capital E to an enemy seems to suggest a strong conviction not only that "things would be better if", but that some sort of momentuous turning point is at the other end of the tunnel. But it defies reason to assume that issues in a society as complex and articulated as ours can be solved by pushing the right button.

    This kind of candid straightforwardness would take away from the credibility of the most solid argument, but in this case it adds insult to injury, as one of the reasons why the Enemy is so dangerous and so vile appears to be its relentlessness: religious extremists are impervious to criticism, refuse to soften their beliefs, tend to claim they have THE cure/truth/salvation/solution, and are generally unable to think outside the box because they're too busy building a smaller one for themselves each day. How trustworthy can the theory that plots their destruction be if it doesn't at least rely on the very opposite qualities?

    Then again, it's a debate without an end, which probably suits the habits of this forum's regulars even better than other discussions. ;) Villain and I can certainly agree to disagree, what with him being a great guy and me never at risk of going to him with the Word of the Lord (which would probably be something along the lines of "What do you want?" if it's me asking, anyway).






    *which is not the same argument that goes "atheists are believers in God's NONexistence", I promise!
     
  5. Salamurhaaja

    Salamurhaaja Member

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    There once was a time when all people believed in God
    and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.
    -Richard Lederer
     
  6. hyena

    hyena counterclockwise

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    I am, generally speaking, no longer interested in political discussions (and that's not limited to Internet boards), mostly because the price tag they carry is too high, and with the only exception of topics where I can actively make a difference, say some welfare policies I am qualified to give a professional opinion about.

    This said, I will briefly comment on the exchange between Matse and LaRocque at the start of this thread. I concur on the fact that blue jeans are not "culture", at least in the most widely accepted sense of the word: pop culture maybe. However, I also agree that the USA have a true cultural influence on the rest of the world, especially Western countries, through the values expressed in the American Constitution - some of them borrowed from other countries, true, but the synthesis is original - and popularization thereof in the "Yes we can" concepts of today. This is an uniquely American slant, as already noted by Tocqueville ages ago, which cannot be reduced to the combination of inputs from the native countries of the founding fathers. See the whole idea of the pursuit of happiness as an explicitly stated right in the context of a market economy, and so on.
     
  7. hyena

    hyena counterclockwise

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    On the religion debate between Villain and rahvin. My personal feelings toward religion have been reiterated enough times and I won't go back to that. In terms of, so to speak, epistemology of religions and/or their disappearance I tend to agree with rahvin (surprise), with some variation. Of course, religion has been used as an instrument of power many times, with dire consequences; its very nature, i.e. being founded on something that cannot be proven or disproven, makes it a fit vessel for pie-in-the-sky political claims and manipulation of irrational masses. However, religion is not the only item that has these characteristics. I am pointing out the obvious now: people have been known to kill in the name of football, race, sexual jealousy, country. Sometimes religion is thrown in the mix, especially when it acts as a prop for nationalism, but it's not a necessary element. While in the past religion was the major excuse for mass murders, in the twentieth century blood mostly came from the clash of secular ideologies and concepts like ethnic community, social class etc, not to mention a non-religious idea of distributive justice. Religion is a dangerous item, as patriotism is, but the idea of abolishing it is no more useful than the idea of abolishing countries to avoid war.
     
  8. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    I disagree slightly with this phrase. Proceeding in a logical fashion from an unsound point leads to an unsound conclusion. This is a petitio principii argument. My point was that religion is a symptom of humanity, and setting oneself against faith threatens those that must ultimately be liberated. There are some very nice people who consider themselves religious. Further, while I am sitting safe and sound on my little continent, and I am not nearly as close to the issue, or educated on it as all you intelligent Europeans, it seems to me that in some Communist and Fascist nations "The State" has been just as powerful a controlling influence "God." While dictatorial religions and governments should all be resisted, I don't think that religion is particularly special in this regard; targeting religion just ensures that after the great atheist revolution, we find ourselves surrounded by a weak-willed, godless mass seeking to elevate the next father figure to the level of Messiah.

    I also think that it's interesting, rahvin, how you use the term "Enemy." I think that it nicely zips up my issue with the more radical elements of atheism (which is a view that I share). As an atheist, I believe that the best thing that I can do is seek to peacefully coexist with all of the good people that I disagree with. There are exceptions, of course; in America, we are fighting tooth and nail to keep a dangerous sect of Christianity out of our public schools. We're also trying to fight some very irrational hatred of our dames and gays. Despite that, I think that the way is peaceful. People can have their faith, but they must mix faith with experience and knowledge. Bad Faith should be transformed through moderation, not pure opposition. It is not without value.

    To my Enemy comment: There is a song called "The Enemy" by an obscure European band that you have probably never heard of. It has this line: "An enemy to define ourselves/An enemy to refine our hate". I don't like to define myself, as an atheist, as one who is separate from religion. I never believed in any of that stuff, so I don't see why I have to be the weirdo when other people actively took on beliefs. I don't even like "atheist", I prefer to say, "I have no religious affiliation." I think, however, that some people are the "elbowed side(s)", and they resist religion with a violent fervor due to having spent their lives as pariahs. And, in keeping with my generally peaceful view of the day-to-day Christians that I know, that full line goes: "The patted shoulder remembers/The elbowed side resists". Maybe people should meet kind, tolerant atheists, atheists who would make good Christians, and seek to fulfill their religious beliefs (and human obligation) to be just as good. Fighting their father will just piss them off, and there are more of them than there are of you.
     
  9. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    @stizzle: Clearly I'm with you on the subject of peaceful coexisting, although I have to admit in my environment it has never been much of an issue, as most of my Christian friends (Catholic, even) are perfectly ok with my opinions as I am with theirs. Generally speaking, however, I obviously hope for solutions that involve as little bloodshed as humanly possible. Then again, zero bloodshed is hardly ever possible, so I'll settle for a modest quantity.

    On a similar note, I don't need convincing about there being reasons for conflict as powerful as religion, or more. Villain's theory falls short of reaching a meaningful conclusion because of that, but - as I mentioned - it would probably help the discussion more if all of you who try and argue the point with him focused on making it clear that religion isn't the point of origin of evil for mankind. If it were I'd want it gone too, but it isn't. Not that I think there is one.
     
  10. hyena

    hyena counterclockwise

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    Ditto in reverse. Most of my agnostic or atheist friends were always very respectful of my Catholic faith. There's a couple of people who like to take me to task, but that has less to do with religious intolerance than with their personal mean streak (if they couldn't tease on God, they'd do it on musical taste or hair color or make of car). I have, unfortunately, met people - but not in my close circle of friends - who would go up in arms at the mention of religious behavior, but then again, that's stupidity, assuming that said behavior doesn't imply anything illegal or even distasteful.
     
  11. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    20 Jahre des Mauerfalls, ein guter Tag :) :kickass:.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. MagSec4

    MagSec4 .:..::.: :.::..:.

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    I'm not even from here and I'm almost embarrassed that someone outside the U.S. knows of Glenn Beck.

    Very recently, when approaching a colleague, I noticed he was reading a big yellow book (on the style of "for dummies"), written by Glenn Beck, titled "Arguing with Idiots".
    How's that for an image of hopelessness..
     
  13. dada

    dada quis est tua pater?

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    as Ozzy said "too many religions for only one god"
    here in the USA our one god is $
     
  14. MP-AKK

    MP-AKK Member

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  15. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    :lol:

    Since I really haven't followed this "Gleen Beck" thing, can someone tell me exactly why he's hated so much? I read that he's a Moron, sorry, Mormon, but can somebody expand a bit? Thanks.
     
  16. Zach.Zhang

    Zach.Zhang Member

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    Too many discussions about god.
    Let's talk about Chinese Democracy and commy.

    Chinese censors block Obama's call to free the Web - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091116/ap_on_re_as/as_obama_china_internet

    Obama backs non-censorship; Beijing, apparently, does not - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy...1601512.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2009111503225

    Video:Loosen internet control, Obama urges China CBC.ca - http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=16681686&ch=4226714&src=news



    Fortunately, I can still browse yahoo.com and post in ultimatemetal forum
    ... and bands like Arch Enemy can play in Beijing.

    But...

    Fuck :mad:
     
  17. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    ^ Well I tried to have a discussion on the 20th Anniv. of the Fall of the Wall, but on one paid attention to it :p .

    Yeah, China is a weird country, it is a capitalist one economically speaking, but socially it is more like a communist one, with lots of censorship and stuff. And it's still the county that pollutes the most, along with the U.S. Ay, too many Chinese (and people) in the world, it's crazy.
     
  18. Siren

    Siren Active Member

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    @Zach.Zhang: That's a topic that interests me. What do most people there think about all this? Do they agree or do they want things to change?
     
  19. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    I'm not a China expert by any means, but it's pretty obvious to me if there's any sort of homegrown movement to democratize the government, any prodding by the U.S. can kill it. This was the situation in Iran, and why Obama stayed aloof when Ahmedinejad stole the elections.

    The problem with China's (and increasingly, India's) development is not so much the power politics. Even if China became a big bad dog militarily, it's not like the U.S. isn't a 900 pound gorilla. It's the environmental concerns. China and India have almost two and a half times the amount of people of the US (each), and their governments think it's a question of their sovereignty whether or not they should reach a very Western level of modernity and consuming habits. Which is completely fucking idiotic, because if the rest of the world achieved Western standards of modernity the same way the U.S. and Europe reached it, let alone consumed at our rate... well, might as well eat McDonald's, drive our Hummers, and just forget recycling, because we'll all be fucked in 20, 30 years no matter what we do if that's the case.

    To me... that's pretty much the reason why the world needs a democratic China. If the Chinese government is ok with poisoning its own people for the sake of meeting lofty economic benchmarks, think they'll care what they do to everyone else? I mean, it's only in the last 10 years that in the United States we've really become collectively conscious that this is a huge problem. If China, India, and the rest of the developing world acts like the Republican Party and pretends the planet isn't reaching its carrying capacity because of *how* we consume, then, well... uh... yeah.

    We're pretty much fucked if the Chinese don't get a government that's far more responsive to its own people and can be held accountable through *open* elections.
     
  20. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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