Posted by The Lenin Hall on February 23, 2008 at 12:08:37:
In Reply to: re: re: re: re: re: has contributed to the enrichment of peoples lives posted by Huh on February 22, 2008 at 20:53:54:
The stats were broadbrush as I said - and I left it to you to find the missing millions between the sum of the holocaust, the Crusades, the Conquistadors and Stalin's massive toll. Even if the anti-religion nuts didn't kill quite as many as the religious nuts I think the message is clear - no one worldview has a monopoly on genocide or ill-treatment of our fellow human beings. It's in our DNA.
Religion is not the root of all evil - there is plenty more evil to go around no matter what the regime or system of government. It's simplistic to single out religion as if those who did not believe in a God had a better way - it is abundantly clear that they do not.
As for the North of Ireland I suggest that even if Henry VIII had remained Catholic, Ulster would have been planted anyway albeit by Catholic land grabbers rather than Protestant land grabbers. The oppression and fighting that resulted would still have lasted right up to the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement - 10 years ago now btw.
They would still have used accent, clothes, names, where they lived, which pubs they drank in, etc., to distinguish the tribes so they would know who to petrol bomb or shoot in the middle of the night. Tribes don't like being ousted from their homes and land and being downtrodden by invading foreign tribes - it wouldn't matter whether they were Catholics, Protestants, Communists, Buddhists or Flying Purple Monster adherents a land grab is a land grab and it's not in our nature to accept domination by other tribes.
Religion has nothing to do with land grabs and the consequences that arise from taking people's property and treating them badly. Likewise the Iraqi oil grab may be thinly disguised as a quasi religious/democracy thing but basically it's a land/resources grab (if very badly executed) just as much as the planting of Ulster was. And just as much as the whole colonial land grab of Africa, Asia and the Americas by the European Kings and Queens was. The horrors bestowed on the Congo by the Belgian King had nothing to do with religion - he wanted a play park and a get-rich-quick scheme and wiped out - how many? - one million? black Africans in the process - he didn't care what religion they were - he just wanted their resources/land and them dead.
The fundamental problem is that it's in our DNA. Homo sapiens is basically a tribal animal. We are inherently racist and antagonistic towards other tribes and people who threaten our reproductive survival either as a group or as individuals. This made a lot of survival sense on the plains of Africa where we evolved originally with scarce resources and a hand to mouth existence so it's built deep into our genes - it's there in our DNA. With a population heading towards 10 billion it was obviously a successful evolutionary strategy in the long term.
Of course all religions in their purer forms recognise this basic feature or flaw in our makeup - it's called 'Original Sin' in the Christian tradition.
It may not be put in explicit evolutionary terms like this but most philosophies - humanist, religious or whatever try to deal with our individual survival instincts, our inherent need to reproduce and our group tribal hatreds of other tribes. Effectively these are the roots of all evil. And every philosophy or religion that makes suggestions on how we should live our lives tries to deal with these fundamental flaws. Phrases like 'love thy neighbour as thyself' come to mind. Even Karl Marx wished some of his fellow men well. Tolerance of other tribes' way of life and beliefs is another common theme in all the great philosophies. Sometimes though (lots of times) we don't succeed.
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