Wow, spend a little time at work getting stuff done and the thread takes off without you. Much was written while I was away, but I'd like to address some of it:
Tyndmyr wrote:They are particularly self-righteous, and take a very browbeating approach. Not entirely unlike the westboro baptist folks, who also serve as a convenient example of this sort of attitude. They are not interested in holding an honest conversation with anyone, only in ramming their message in people's faces as frequently as possible. They're not overly worried about social limits, and push the bounds of legality.
The westboro baptist folks are also universally reviled and disowned by mainstream Christians. If that is your yardstick for Christians, I suggest you look elsewhere. Not only are their messages and beliefs not biblical, but their tactics are decidedly unchristian.
In fact, any
Christians who are "self-righteous and take a very browbeating approach" are not acting in a matter consistent with Christian teaching. But here's a news flash: Christians are human, and subject to all the failings and foibles inherent to humanity. Christians believe we are ALL sinners, and with that belief should come a measure of humility. We are obligated to help the needy, love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and forgive those who harm us, among others.
So, when you say Christianity is bad because Christians are self righteous, brow-beating, mean, nasty hypocrites, then the remedy is more Christianity, not more humanity.
Tyndmyr wrote:If such an attitude was more pervasive, it'd be very dangerous indeed, as such a group having the numbers to push laws through is a sort of horrible, dystopian thought.
If you mean the westboro attitude, then yes. The scriptural Christian attitude? The world needs more, not less, of that.
Copper Bezel wrote:I meant exactly what I said, and I did not say that proselytizing is evil. I said that the kind of religion Christianity is, obsessed with proselytizing, is what drives it to become evil.
I'm still missing your point. If proselytizing isn't evil, how does being "obsessed with proselytizing" drive someone to evil? I know several people who will not miss an opportunity to discuss their faith (proselytize) yet show no proclivity for evil. Are there any warning signs of creeping evil I might be missing?
Copper Bezel wrote:the Christian belief is that a person agreeing with you is more important than that person living or dying. It absolutely is an evil idea.
I see nothing absolutely evil about that idea. I don't even see anything relatively evil about it. We all live, and will eventually die. Nothing can be done about that. But if I get a person to "agree with me" (i.e. understand and accept Christian faith), then I have saved his immortal soul. That is clearly more important than that person living or dying (which will happen regardless). How is this an evil idea?
Copper Bezel wrote:But there are plenty of places in the world where you can be killed by Christian fundamentalists for being gay, for instance - easiest to see when it's being imposed by a state, like Uganda, but there are still some of those in the US - and plenty of places more that you can lose your job or social standing for failing to affirm Christian belief.
This is similar to Tyndmyr's wesboro argument. If 'christian fundamentalists' who murder gays is your concept of Christianity, then you are looking in the wrong place (probably willfully and deliberately, given your stated opinion of Christians). ALL mainstream Christians condemn such acts.
As for plenty places in the US where you can lose your job for failing to affirm Christian beliefs -- how many is 'plenty', and where are they? It seems to me there are more cases lately where it's the other way around (CEO of Mozilla, county clerk in Kentucky, wedding photographers and bakers, just off the top of my head).
Copper Bezel wrote:I didn't say anything about "harming" Christians. I will mock, ridicule, and insult them, and I will oppose their lies and attempt to correct the misconceptions they spread. If you want to call that "harm", then yes, I am intent on harming Christians.
So, on the one hand we have Christians who are driven to evil because of their 'obsession with proselytizing.' Yes, evil
. On the other hand, you seem to have no problem with mocking, ridiculing and insulting others. You will even attempt to correct their misconceptions, which sounds a little like proselytizing to me.
I'm not sure how you reconcile this apparent discrepancy.
Copper Bezel wrote:Today, yes, I'm confident that the net impact of Christianity (along with Islam) is negative.
I must agree that the net impact of Christianity (along with Islam) is negative. But take away that 'along with Islam' clause, and *I'm* confident that the net impact of Christianity is *positive.* For reasons that have already been addressed on this thread, though, it's pointless to pursue this beyond statements of personal opinion, since it's impossible to prove one way or the other.
Tyndmyr wrote:If you want data, we have the recent study that indicates that religious folks are less altruistic than non-religious folks. More research to be done, certainly, but assuming that religious folks are the best people based on a coupla folks you knew as a kid is...not really scientific in the slightest.
The study you reference is also...not really scientific in the slightest. In fact, it has more holes than a swiss cheese.
Note that I'm not claiming Christians are more altruistic than others. As I pointed out, we're only human and we all fall short of what's demanded of us. Does this mean there's a mismatch between what Christians profess and how they behave? Yes. But isn't this true of any group with moral or ethical standards? If you judge Christianity only by the most egregious failings of Christians, then you should use that same yardstick on every other philosophy, doctrine or viewpoint, including your own. (I predict all of them would fail by that standard.)