Disney's Divinity wrote:
Personally, I think there would be the same amount of pain and misery in the world whether or not religion exists. People will always be cruel and selfish. Religion's just a common excuse.
Not entirely untrue... but that also means it's only partly true, too.
Yes, there are many other causes for human beings to start killing each other or inflicting pain on each other. Take the case of Rwanda, 1994; or Kenya, 2007; or... I'm sure there are many other examples of massive violence and bloodshed caused by conflicts based on tribal rivalry, especially in Africa. Somehow, the fact that your neighbor, who looks and talks the same as you is of a different tribe or ethnic group is reason enough to slit his throat. Look what ethnic conflicts did to the Balkans in the 1990's. Nationalism/racism/xenophobia are also prime motives for violence amongst men. You're partly right: religion is not the only reason that hostility ensues between humans.
To say or suggest, like you did, that therefore there would be just as much suffering in a world without religion, is a big falsehood. Because religion is not, like you said, an "excuse" for doing harm. Religion is the *cause*. That's a key difference. Religion is the cause for Boko Haram to blow up hundreds of people in Nigeria because they want to establish an Islamic state, based on Sharia (= religious) law. Religion is the cause that extremist evangelicals feel justified in killing an abortion doctor. It's not an "excuse"; it's not like those people would have committed those killings even without religion. They would not have had any incentive to do so without religion.
So, the point the Doc and me were making still stands.
Of course the atheist Communists killed millions of people too.
1. They didn't kill people because they were atheists, so wrong analogy.
2. How does that make religious killing better?
A question for Super A.
(at whose post I was very surprised): why would a God create the universe, including us, without ever meddling in it again? What's the point in having a God when he doesn't judge about good and wrong?