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Hot Takes

Step Sibling / Step Mom / Step Dad Porn is "popular" because a majority of Americans come from broken homes or suffer from a lack of quality family relationships.

According to the US department of health and human services:
"In two-parent families, children under age 13 spent an average of 1 hour and 46 minutes engaged in activities with their fathers and 2 hours and 21 minutes doing so with their mothers on a daily basis in 1997. This was substantially more time than children in single-parent families spent with their fathers (25 minutes) and mothers (1 hour and 16 minutes). Note that children in both family types spent more time with their mothers than with their fathers. Also, the amount of time that children spent with either parent generally decreased with age. Nonresidential parents are not presented in this indicator. "
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Granted this statistic is from 1997 but if we apply it to today where we see roughly 50% of marriages end in divorce it makes complete sense and further drives home how relevant this Porn trend is. As a future educator I find this extremely alarming and I would hope we can find ways to combat this.

Link: https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/indicators-child-family-and-community-connections/time-spent-parents

Getting engaged/married while still in college or fresh out of college is extremely silly.

My experience with college that it's far from the real world if you will. I see people get engaged during their Junior or Senior year and than get married after, during, or fresh out college. Its the dumbest thing ever because I doubt either people are ready to make that commitment so early on in their adult life. After college life will throw you curve balls and a Spouse is most likely going to hinder you emotionally. This is can be detrimental to how you go about living your life relationship wise. Granted some people genuinely love their spouse and when put to the test they can power through it with them. These marriages are usually a diamond in the rough.

I'd recommend waiting until you're financially and emotionally ready instead of feeling you need just take the next step out of college and marry your significant other.
 
Oh, hot takes sure.

I have a few but I guess I'll start with this one since I think it's not that uncommon:

Society would be better off without religion.

No genocides based on what belief set people happened to follow or be born into. No reliance on something that has not and likely cannot be proven. No divine right of rule. No ingrained subservience to something that can't be proved to be there. No money-sucking from people or governments that could use it for vital programs. No extreme tribalism based on interpretations of sacred texts or rituals.
Etc.

On top of that, the positive functions that religion has can be attained by something else in my opinion-
The formation of communities and gatherings can be based on mutual held interests or recreational activites.
Meaning and purpose can be found on Earth rather than being tied to something after death that isn't even guaranteed.
Consciousness and morality could be debated and thought over rather than granted as-is.

I don't know how we'd get to a religion-free society though and I don't advocate for forcing people off their religious beliefs. But I think that if we ever did somehow become a religion-less society, we'd be better off.
I completely agree with this one, although not being a very likely scenario as you have already pointed out. I wanted to take this hypothesis a step further and say that Islam is the most problematic religion out of all. This is not just because of the countless terrorist attacks committed under the name of the 'Jihad', but more importantly the structures Scharia-ruled/islamic governments tend to have (e.g. the oppression of women and homosexuals, prohibition of apostasy, restriction of free speech). All of which are letigimized by the holy scriptures of Islam, so in my eyes saying the problems facing the islamic world today is a problem "of the people who are practicing it" isn't exactly accurate. Additionally, when you have such a large number of people believing in the values, which the respective governments have instilled on them (e.g. "homosexuality should be a crime", the wife should obey her husband"), talking of the problem as a problem of the individual and not a systemic one is disingenuous in my eyes.
 
I completely agree with this one, although not being a very likely scenario as you have already pointed out. I wanted to take this hypothesis a step further and say that Islam is the most problematic religion out of all. This is not just because of the countless terrorist attacks committed under the name of the 'Jihad', but more importantly the structures Scharia-ruled/islamic governments tend to have (e.g. the oppression of women and homosexuals, prohibition of apostasy, restriction of free speech). All of which are letigimized by the holy scriptures of Islam, so in my eyes saying the problems facing the islamic world today is a problem "of the people who are practicing it" isn't exactly accurate. Additionally, when you have such a large number of people believing in the values, which the respective governments have instilled on them (e.g. "homosexuality should be a crime", the wife should obey her husband"), talking of the problem as a problem of the individual and not a systemic one is disingenuous in my eyes.
There are plenty of Christians who live by these very same tenets. While modern Christian terrorist attacks are not a common thing, there are still people who commit acts of violence in the name of the Christian god, and the religion itself has a bloody history just as many others. These people still push to have their beliefs be a decisive factor in how we are governed as well.

that’s not to say I think Christian people are bad. Just a comparison to demonstrate why I wouldn’t say one organized religion is worse than another. I am in agreement that they are all bad. Many times crossing the line into committing outright evil in the name of some greater good.

Hot take: male circumcision is genital mutilation too and is despicable.

hot take 2: mothers who choose to circumcise their sons based on their own sexual preferences are sexualizing children and are gross.
 
Oh, hot takes sure.

I have a few but I guess I'll start with this one since I think it's not that uncommon:

Society would be better off without religion.

No genocides based on what belief set people happened to follow or be born into. No reliance on something that has not and likely cannot be proven. No divine right of rule. No ingrained subservience to something that can't be proved to be there. No money-sucking from people or governments that could use it for vital programs. No extreme tribalism based on interpretations of sacred texts or rituals.
Etc.

On top of that, the positive functions that religion has can be attained by something else in my opinion-
The formation of communities and gatherings can be based on mutual held interests or recreational activites.
Meaning and purpose can be found on Earth rather than being tied to something after death that isn't even guaranteed.
Consciousness and morality could be debated and thought over rather than granted as-is.

I don't know how we'd get to a religion-free society though and I don't advocate for forcing people off their religious beliefs. But I think that if we ever did somehow become a religion-less society, we'd be better off.
Well I have a hot take : You're not really trying to think about religions' effects on the society, but you're rather putting together everything you think about that could discredit religion. IE your way of thinking, as well as the debate we could have, won't lead anywhere, because you're trying to confirm your opinion rather than actually thinking.
 
There are plenty of Christians who live by these very same tenets. While modern Christian terrorist attacks are not a common thing, there are still people who commit acts of violence in the name of the Christian god, and the religion itself has a bloody history just as many others. These people still push to have their beliefs be a decisive factor in how we are governed as well.

that’s not to say I think Christian people are bad. Just a comparison to demonstrate why I wouldn’t say one organized religion is worse than another. I am in agreement that they are all bad. Many times crossing the line into committing outright evil in the name of some greater good.

Hot take: male circumcision is genital mutilation too and is despicable.

hot take 2: mothers who choose to circumcise their sons based on their own sexual preferences are sexualizing children and are gross.
Oops, I forgot to put a "right now" in there. Yea, Christianity has been responsible for some of the most despicable things that have ever happened to mankind (e.g. inquisition, colonizations. The difference between Christianity and Islam is that Christianity has mostly moved on from its history.

Sure, there are a few countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe where being gay for instance is also seen as widely immoral and fundamentalists within more progressive countries exist as well. But generally speaking, most countries that were once Christian strongholds are mostly secular, whereas with Islam the aforementioned problem with Scharia interfering into state law or being the law entirely still applies to most islamic countries today.

As for the rest of your hot takes: I actually agree with both. And it's a shame that it's as wide-spread over in the US as it currently is. I believe most Americans claim that they do it for "cultural reasons", right? Because their ancestors did the same.
 
As for the rest of your hot takes: I actually agree with both. And it's a shame that it's as wide-spread over in the US as it currently is. I believe most Americans claim that they do it for "cultural reasons", right? Because their ancestors did the same.
For some people it is a cultural thing passed down through their religion, though even among Jewish people there are those who have allowed circumcision to be optional.

In the US circumcision originated as a method to prevent masturbation and deny sexual pleasure by, you guessed it; religious nut jobs! Since then it’s been popularized by misinformation about hygiene and sexual health (there are zero noteworthy health benefits that come with circumcision; shower and practice safe sex people!) and the lack of exposure American people have to penis in its natural state. That is, foreskin is different and thus scary. There are exceptions, such as phimosis, which is a medical condition that will normally resolve itself or can be fixed in other ways, but in pressing cases can be fixed by circumcision.

To bring matters of bodily autonomy and consent into the equation really is a whole ‘nother can of worms, suffice to say one cannot be pro-choice and pro-infant circumcision without being an ignorant hypocrite. This is not a statement on abortion, by the way, as to be pro-life you would also believe the infant has rights, so...
 
Well I have a hot take : You're not really trying to think about religions' effects on the society, but you're rather putting together everything you think about that could discredit religion. IE your way of thinking, as well as the debate we could have, won't lead anywhere, because you're trying to confirm your opinion rather than actually thinking.
Hot take or bad faith accusation?
My opinions are formed from me trying to consider religion's effect on society in many different ways, including analyzing my own religious experiences back when I believed, discussing with theists what religion means to them, looking thru history and the effects religions have had, mapping out some of the functions religion has and where else those functions could be derived from, weighing the pros and cons overall, and trying to learn more at every opportunity.
Before dismissing my thought processes without even knowing what they are and claiming a debate with me would be fruitless, why not simply try... asking me or debating with me lol.
 
I completely agree with this one, although not being a very likely scenario as you have already pointed out. I wanted to take this hypothesis a step further and say that Islam is the most problematic religion out of all. This is not just because of the countless terrorist attacks committed under the name of the 'Jihad', but more importantly the structures Scharia-ruled/islamic governments tend to have (e.g. the oppression of women and homosexuals, prohibition of apostasy, restriction of free speech). All of which are letigimized by the holy scriptures of Islam, so in my eyes saying the problems facing the islamic world today is a problem "of the people who are practicing it" isn't exactly accurate. Additionally, when you have such a large number of people believing in the values, which the respective governments have instilled on them (e.g. "homosexuality should be a crime", the wife should obey her husband"), talking of the problem as a problem of the individual and not a systemic one is disingenuous in my eyes.
I agree that the systemic root of the problem is a really important distinction to make. I am generally not a fan of saying which religion is the worst because there are so many metrics in which that could be measured and really I think using the institutional mechanisms by which religion could do harm to society could really apply to any religion if given the chance. That said, because there are so many Islamic theocracies, the harmful effects of Islam on the people of those countries are very blatant and I could see why you'd say that.
I'll add another hot take and say that criticism of institutional Islam is necessary (as any other religious institution) but woefully mishandled in the US. On the right, there exists a lot of fearmongering and "othering" of people from Islamic nations which is undeserved (actions of few being attributed to the many, xenophobia, etc.). On the left, there is a hesitation to even touch the topic for fear of being labeled an Islamophobe or xenophobic in the first place.
I think this is where the systemic critique you mentioned earlier comes into play. It is possible to criticize the harmful effects of theocracy and large institutions without vilifying individuals and justifying hatred toward them.
 
Hot take or bad faith accusation?
My opinions are formed from me trying to consider religion's effect on society in many different ways, including analyzing my own religious experiences back when I believed, discussing with theists what religion means to them, looking thru history and the effects religions have had, mapping out some of the functions religion has and where else those functions could be derived from, weighing the pros and cons overall, and trying to learn more at every opportunity.
Before dismissing my thought processes without even knowing what they are and claiming a debate with me would be fruitless, why not simply try... asking me or debating with me lol.
I'm sorry if I was wrong, and if I was rude in my expression. There are so many people who give a totally unthinking opinion on these kinds of forums that you have to understand that I suspect you are a part of them. I suspected it because you used the same arguments that always come up, and that I find generally bad. We can have a cordial debate if you want.

Here is the list of your arguments:
1 - Religions are the cause of many genocides
2 - Religions are based on unverifiable assertions that you believe only because you were brought up to believe in them
3 - Religions impose so-called divine laws
4 - Religions suck up money that could be put to much better use
5 - Misinterpretation of religious texts can lead to extremely damaging behaviours
6 - The positive effects of religions can be provided by other instances. A simple friendly gathering would have the same effect
7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
8 - We can look for moral laws by ourselves instead of finding them in books


Some of these arguments have value, some do not. I'm not an expert on religions. I only know a little bit about Christian religions, a little bit about Islam, a little bit about Judaism. I don't know anything about Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Pastafarianism, or South American religions. I will speak only on behalf of the majority religions in the West, therefore.
Here are my answers :

1 - Religions are the cause of many genocides
Aah the famous "religions make a lot of dead" argument. It is indeed an argument to say that religions should never have existed. I find it rather petty, because many apparently religious wars (brandishing a religious motive) are in fact driven by rather political or ethnic inclinations, but yes, it is certain that religions are causes that tend, unfortunately, to lead to conflicts.

2 - Religions are based on unverifiable assertions that you believe only because you were brought up to believe in them
Proof of the existence of God and justifications for the existence of religions is an eternal debate. I don't think it is right to put all religions in one big bag and say "everything religious is unverifiable". If I take the example of Christianity (I am a Christian, this is the field I know best), the information that a man named Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life", and died crucified around the year 0, is extremely reliable ; several independent texts mention this. Well, these are the same texts that say that Jesus performed miracles in his life and that he resurrected three days after his death. You're going to say, "Yes, but if it turns out they lied and it's a conspiracy to make us believe in Christ". If you say that, you believe that these texts lie just as Christians believe that these texts are true. I don't think either side can claim more truth than the other.
For the second part of the sentence, this is not an argument to say that religions are harmful, but rather to justify that believing in them is an error of judgment.

3 - Religions impose so-called divine laws
Yes, religions impose laws. If you want to go through with the demonstration, you have to show that these laws are harmful to society. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" doesn't seem to me to be a harmful law. (I'm sorry to only take Christian examples)

4 - Religions suck up money that could be put to much better use
This argument is the worst of all. First of all religions don't "suck" that much money, at least not these days. Many (most, in my country) priests and Imams earn less than the minimum wage ; the construction of churches, mosques and synagogues is rare ; the maintenance of these buildings is really an anecdotal amount ; very many states, especially European ones, do not subsidize religions. These are many small sums combined, which together do not make a very large sum. Moreover, to say this is to assume that the money freed up by the suppression of religions would automatically go to just causes. You know very well that the money spent on truly just causes is a microscopic part of the expenses of men.

Even if this were the case, this argument would be fallacious. Most religions believe they are acting for the salvation of the world. They spend their money either for the message they carry or directly for the poor and unfortunate. Saying "society would be better without your action", "you're stealing money from just causes" only applies to one point of view, that of the atheist (not even for the agnostic, since he refuses to give an opinion); and more than that, it's an extremely disrespectful behavior toward all those who give their time, their money, and sometimes their life for these causes.

5 - Misinterpretation of religious texts can lead to extremely damaging behaviours
Yes. The suppression of religions would lead to the disappearance of religious extremism. However, this is a very weak argument, since extremely few people are affected by them. To say this is not to forget these people, it is to put things into perspective.

6 - The positive effects of religions can be provided by other instances. A simple friendly gathering would have the same effect
The answer is exactly the same as for argument number 4. Excuse me, but it is still a very weak argument.

7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
I don't think you can give meaning to your life without religion. One can only accept not understanding, say "Okay, I'll live my life, and we'll see", which is very different. Searching for the meaning of life means answering the question "Why?". This answer certainly does not exist for atheists. "Life for itself" isn't the meaning of life, it's just how all living beings act. They try to survive, this has nothing to do with meaning.
As for the unreliable part, refer to the 4th answer.

8 - We can look for moral laws by ourselves instead of finding them in books
Yes, but once again you don't go all the way. Now you have to show why our own laws would be better than those of religions. And even if you do, it is again from the atheist's point of view.


Finally I disagree with your approach, which is to put all the so-called "religions" in the same bag and to say that we would live better without them. Yes there are many different beliefs which give rise to religions, but they have messages and actions which are extremely different from each other, and it's not possible to unify them as if they were all the same thing.
 
Masturbation is not cool.
It's not healthy.
It's not just "a lifestyle choice".
It's for losers.

You can always tell when someone watches porn. They all have that dumb, distracted look on their faces, even if they haven't just jerked off. Their eyes are totally empty. They don't pay attention when you're speaking to them. They keep glancing at your pockets or stare at the ground instead of maintaining eye contact; basics of social interaction are unknown to them.

Instead of actually engaging you in conversation, they just nod and keep saying "yeah, yeah" to cover up their lack of engagement. It might seem that they're lost in thought, but they're probably just entertaining one of thier half-baked "theories", which they will always change the topic of conversation to tell you about. They smile so coyly when they're about to this, you can tell that they think each and every one of their "thoughts" (if they even deserve to be called by that name) is so profound, that it's a gift from God that they are even bothering to explain it to a normal non porn addicted person like you. They will often pause mid sentence while searching for a word, a common word, to express a common idea, that any normal person would have no trouble recalling, which only deepens their illusion that they are some kind of Boehemian philosopher who is struggling to articulate a very subtle idea. By the way all these "theories" are derived from ideological trash like Marx, to give you an idea of the intellectual capabilities of the average porn addict.

We have all met these people.

Normally I am not in favor of the state intervening to curtail sexual liberties but in the case of porn, it just causes young people to go on the wrong path. We all know that porn can cause brain abnormalities and shrinkage in some areas relating to memory formation which prevents its addicts from learning from their mistakes and catches them in a "loop" of addiction.

By weaking people's locus of decision making it causes them to make more and more poor choices, some of them permanent like getting a tattoo or piercings which can negatively effect their job prospects.

Many many studies have shown the link between pornography consumption and mental illness such as depression, anxiety, OCD and psychosis, proof is in the pudding as none of these people are mentally stable and you will know it if you have ever talked to one of them.

My own best friend since elementary school went down this path when we were both 15, today I am in college studying engineering while he is still living with his parents and "thinking of finding a job", even though his IQ was tasted to be nearly 140. It must have reduced now and his personality has totally changed, he thinks he is much superior but I just feel sorry for him.

We need to re illegalize this sexual activity. I don't know why people think that just because it can't kill you like heroine or cocane it's safer. It can leave you as good as dead, trust me because I've seen it.
i feel personally attacked. was i ur best friend in elementary school or something
 

Adamant Zoroark

catchy catchphrase
is a Contributor to Smogon
I’ll get my big hot take out of the way: You should not be circumcising your children and the only reason Americans do so by and large now is because a nutjob with the Kellogg surname promoted it because he didn’t want people to be able to masturbate. The health claims are bogus, too; a UTI prophylaxis should not have a chance of causing an infection on its own. If an adult wants to have themselves circumcised because of their religion or because they’re too lazy to wash their junk once in a while, that’s their call, but don’t make the call for someone not old enough to decide on their own.

Anyway, one more hot take: People who become vegans aren’t doing so for health reasons, they’re doing it so they can claim moral superiority. Veganism is basically just eco-fascism.
 
7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
I don't think you can give meaning to your life without religion. One can only accept not understanding, say "Okay, I'll live my life, and we'll see", which is very different. Searching for the meaning of life means answering the question "Why?". This answer certainly does not exist for atheists. "Life for itself" isn't the meaning of life, it's just how all living beings act. They try to survive, this has nothing to do with meaning.
As for the unreliable part, refer to the 4th answer.
This is making me glitch.

This is a much more bleak outlook than believing our purpose is only to eat, shit, and die. To only find purpose in life through religion is to live a life with truly no purpose. If god is your meaning, then you yourself are meaningless. Maybe that works for some people, I dunno, but life is about so much more than what happens after it.
 
This is making me glitch.

This is a much more bleak outlook than believing our purpose is only to eat, shit, and die. To only find purpose in life through religion is to live a life with truly no purpose. If god is your meaning, then you yourself are meaningless. Maybe that works for some people, I dunno, but life is about so much more than what happens after it.
Once again I will speak from a christian point of view. I think you misunderstood the purpose of religion.

"To only find purpose in life through religion is to live a life with truly no purpose"
Here you just went from "only religion" to "no purpose" casually like it was nothing. The problem is that life doesn't need to have plenty of different meanings. You have one, and you live following it. This doesn't mean you can't live normally if you think the meaning of life is God. God is extremely far from "no purpose". It's the exact opposite.

"If god is your meaning, then you yourself are meaningless"
Think about that for a second (no offense, really do). Which being makes more sense, the one who was created by an almighty and loving God, or the one who eats, shits and dies, leaving nothing behind him, and having no future ? In christianism men are anything but meaningless. They are the purpose of the Universe, and they are meant to join God at the end of times.

"Life is about so much more than what happens after it"
From a christian standpoint, be sure that we don't believe God created life just for us to wait for our death and for our true life to start. That would just make no sense. Our life on earth is at least as important as our life after death. There are many things to say here, but what you must understand is that a Christian gives as much or more importance to life as an atheist does. Life is a godly gift.
So I'm interested to know why atheists give so much importance to life. If you're born, you live, you die and then that's it, what's really valuable about it ?
 

tcr

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Oh, hot takes sure.

I have a few but I guess I'll start with this one since I think it's not that uncommon:

Society would be better off without religion.

No genocides based on what belief set people happened to follow or be born into. No reliance on something that has not and likely cannot be proven. No divine right of rule. No ingrained subservience to something that can't be proved to be there. No money-sucking from people or governments that could use it for vital programs. No extreme tribalism based on interpretations of sacred texts or rituals.
Etc.

On top of that, the positive functions that religion has can be attained by something else in my opinion-
The formation of communities and gatherings can be based on mutual held interests or recreational activites.
Meaning and purpose can be found on Earth rather than being tied to something after death that isn't even guaranteed.
Consciousness and morality could be debated and thought over rather than granted as-is.

I don't know how we'd get to a religion-free society though and I don't advocate for forcing people off their religious beliefs. But I think that if we ever did somehow become a religion-less society, we'd be better off.
I don't think this is a very good take at all, in fact it comes off as ignorant.

You attribute all of these bad things to solely religion; genocides, "divine right of rule," some abstract 'subservience,' monetary issues which can be directed to humanitarian issues, tribalism. You also claim that the fulfilling aspects of religion can be attained by something else, such as recreational activities or mutual interests, and that meaning in life can be found in earthly desires.

What it really reads as is you take special issue with Western religions, the Abrahamic triad, rather than disliking all religions. Your idea of what "religion" is seems to be catering to a deity, which just simply isn't the case. In surmising your argument of the problematic aspects of religion, they can be divided into two parts: Tribal tendencies and abuse of power.

The first, tribalism, is not some factor entirely exclusive to religion or those who practice it. Consider in the scientific community, in academia, the varying stances and zeitgeists that emerge in the most narrow of topics. Look at politics, where you can see Democrats infighting over the best course to lead the nation, or wider to see Red vs Blue. You state that "consciousness and morality can be debated and thought over rather than granted as-is" but this already happens. Pick up any philosophy book and you can find introspection on what it means to be moral while someone also holds the view of their preferred deity, or non at all (Descartes comes to mind). Tribalism, and therefore, genocide, is not something inherent to religion but something inherent to humanity as a whole. If you take an evolutionary stance, which I assume would be acclimate to you, then people are hardwired to prefer things similar to them in beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, while also being predisposed to fear or at least dislike things that are different from them. A person's culture is not shaped by their religion, rather it is the exact opposite: a person's religion is shaped by their culture (and I mean "person" to refer to an abstract group of people, not individuals). What a society's culture is, composed of their moral code, rituals, and preferences, will invariably find their way into their explanation of the history of everything, i.e. religion. The stories told in their culture are most often used as metaphors to describe their own moral code, and only taken literally by zealots (one example can be modern Christianity, or Hindusim). As for "subservience" I'm not entirely sure why you consider this a bad thing as I don't consider subservience to Christ or Brahma to be any different from one being a slave to their own moral code or thinking, the only difference is one is considered the moral code personified so as to be more easily relate-able.

The second, abuse of power, is, again, not an attribute exclusive to religion, but rather a condemnation of the most basic of nature's laws. The law instilled in nature is survival of the fittest, and abuse of power is the Fit exerting their will because that is what they determine to be the best course at the time. Now that can be criticized or 180'd in hindsight, but it is human nature for those in power to abuse it in ways that most benefit them, because all creatures are selfish and cannot see past their ego. Divine right of rule is one such example; though I cannot prove I guarantee you that in some manner rules such as King Henry VIII would have maintained power and distributed it to his children regardless of Divine Right, as prior to the 17th century Kings ruled and taught their sons the trade anyway. I think you're wrongly attributing some form of rebellious will to the common person during that time by criticizing "divine right of rule." To misallocation of funds, allocation of funds for a religion is no different than any other superfluous government body. Religion, in fact, does far more than the poorly allocated funds of government spending. Religion gives people hope during stressful times, and leads to personal development for a lot of people.

Wills, et. al found that religiosity had a severe impact on preventing children from turning to drug abuse including drinking during times of life stress. In Brown and Prudo it was found that belief in religion was found to be protective to vulnerability for depression. Barton and Miller found that higher scores of religiosity and positive psychology are associated with decreased levels of depression symptoms, higher value in meaning in life, and lower instances of substance abuse. Psychology scholars theorize that substance use in particular is motivated by an innate craving of spirituality.

I'm not saying that you need religion in your life to find meaning, or that religion is not used as a vehicle for power abuse, but the issues you point out and the workarounds you mention are not cogent. The issues with religion all stem from human nature which would not be changed thru a lack of religion and you completely ignore the positives of religion and spirituality. Your suggestions would have the exact opposite effect that you presented; they read with a severe lack of understanding about theology. Your arguments seem to stem purely from modern Christianity and Islam, and I highly recommend looking into understanding the backbones of more religions, specifically eastern religions and spirituality in Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism.
 
I'm sorry if I was wrong, and if I was rude in my expression. There are so many people who give a totally unthinking opinion on these kinds of forums that you have to understand that I suspect you are a part of them. I suspected it because you used the same arguments that always come up, and that I find generally bad. We can have a cordial debate if you want.

Here is the list of your arguments:
1 - Religions are the cause of many genocides
2 - Religions are based on unverifiable assertions that you believe only because you were brought up to believe in them
3 - Religions impose so-called divine laws
4 - Religions suck up money that could be put to much better use
5 - Misinterpretation of religious texts can lead to extremely damaging behaviours
6 - The positive effects of religions can be provided by other instances. A simple friendly gathering would have the same effect
7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
8 - We can look for moral laws by ourselves instead of finding them in books


Some of these arguments have value, some do not. I'm not an expert on religions. I only know a little bit about Christian religions, a little bit about Islam, a little bit about Judaism. I don't know anything about Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Pastafarianism, or South American religions. I will speak only on behalf of the majority religions in the West, therefore.
Here are my answers :

1 - Religions are the cause of many genocides
Aah the famous "religions make a lot of dead" argument. It is indeed an argument to say that religions should never have existed. I find it rather petty, because many apparently religious wars (brandishing a religious motive) are in fact driven by rather political or ethnic inclinations, but yes, it is certain that religions are causes that tend, unfortunately, to lead to conflicts.

2 - Religions are based on unverifiable assertions that you believe only because you were brought up to believe in them
Proof of the existence of God and justifications for the existence of religions is an eternal debate. I don't think it is right to put all religions in one big bag and say "everything religious is unverifiable". If I take the example of Christianity (I am a Christian, this is the field I know best), the information that a man named Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life", and died crucified around the year 0, is extremely reliable ; several independent texts mention this. Well, these are the same texts that say that Jesus performed miracles in his life and that he resurrected three days after his death. You're going to say, "Yes, but if it turns out they lied and it's a conspiracy to make us believe in Christ". If you say that, you believe that these texts lie just as Christians believe that these texts are true. I don't think either side can claim more truth than the other.
For the second part of the sentence, this is not an argument to say that religions are harmful, but rather to justify that believing in them is an error of judgment.

3 - Religions impose so-called divine laws
Yes, religions impose laws. If you want to go through with the demonstration, you have to show that these laws are harmful to society. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" doesn't seem to me to be a harmful law. (I'm sorry to only take Christian examples)

4 - Religions suck up money that could be put to much better use
This argument is the worst of all. First of all religions don't "suck" that much money, at least not these days. Many (most, in my country) priests and Imams earn less than the minimum wage ; the construction of churches, mosques and synagogues is rare ; the maintenance of these buildings is really an anecdotal amount ; very many states, especially European ones, do not subsidize religions. These are many small sums combined, which together do not make a very large sum. Moreover, to say this is to assume that the money freed up by the suppression of religions would automatically go to just causes. You know very well that the money spent on truly just causes is a microscopic part of the expenses of men.

Even if this were the case, this argument would be fallacious. Most religions believe they are acting for the salvation of the world. They spend their money either for the message they carry or directly for the poor and unfortunate. Saying "society would be better without your action", "you're stealing money from just causes" only applies to one point of view, that of the atheist (not even for the agnostic, since he refuses to give an opinion); and more than that, it's an extremely disrespectful behavior toward all those who give their time, their money, and sometimes their life for these causes.

5 - Misinterpretation of religious texts can lead to extremely damaging behaviours
Yes. The suppression of religions would lead to the disappearance of religious extremism. However, this is a very weak argument, since extremely few people are affected by them. To say this is not to forget these people, it is to put things into perspective.

6 - The positive effects of religions can be provided by other instances. A simple friendly gathering would have the same effect
The answer is exactly the same as for argument number 4. Excuse me, but it is still a very weak argument.

7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
I don't think you can give meaning to your life without religion. One can only accept not understanding, say "Okay, I'll live my life, and we'll see", which is very different. Searching for the meaning of life means answering the question "Why?". This answer certainly does not exist for atheists. "Life for itself" isn't the meaning of life, it's just how all living beings act. They try to survive, this has nothing to do with meaning.
As for the unreliable part, refer to the 4th answer.

8 - We can look for moral laws by ourselves instead of finding them in books
Yes, but once again you don't go all the way. Now you have to show why our own laws would be better than those of religions. And even if you do, it is again from the atheist's point of view.


Finally I disagree with your approach, which is to put all the so-called "religions" in the same bag and to say that we would live better without them. Yes there are many different beliefs which give rise to religions, but they have messages and actions which are extremely different from each other, and it's not possible to unify them as if they were all the same thing.
Maybe I can steelman some Machoke's arguments here as I believe there are some things to be clarified here:

1- Religions are the cause of many genocides
Nothing really to argue about.

2 - Religions are based on unverifiable assertions that you believe only because you were brought up to believe in them
I would really like to know the evidence for Jesus' existance, having lived at around the year 0. Additionally, having testimonies that you cannot even be that sure of whether they're reliable or not, is about the lowest form of evidence one can have.

3 - Religions impose so-called divine laws
Enough laws were/are bad. Exodus 21 set the groundwork for what was to be known as slavery, not to mention the laws against homosexuality in countries like Uganda or Zimbabwe as previously mentioned. I think you are right in that not every law has to automatically be a bad law, but there is a myriad of bad laws to be found in the respective scriptures.

4 - Religions suck up money that could be put to much better use
I don't think he refers to single individuals within the church, because sure, some people earn less than others, but rather the institution as a whole. And to be fair, he has got a point. Taking Germany as an example here, the church earns up to 460 million Euros a year with prelates earning up to 10.000 Euros a month. That right there is money that could be used elsewhere to much greater effect.

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtsch...hen-das-kreuz-mit-den-milliarden/8960364.html (You would need to put Google Translate on it, since the source is German)

But going further, I would add that the causes do not matter, nor should they. The money they spend could, as you described it, be seen as the act of trying to save the world, but it could also be seen as needless indoctrination of people, a lot of the times children in building religious schools, establishing kid-friendly seminars to teach the children about the Bible etc. And yes, they also use it for the poor and unfortunate, but don't think that because they do it, they always do it simply for the good graces. There is this organization in Germany called the "Diakonie", also being present in Brussels and Rome if I'm not mistaken, that helps the elderly, basically functioning as an old people's home. Next thing you know, they host religious seminars of all kinds, basically indoctrinating the elderly and children not having been religious at that point in time. I think intentions by the church don't have to be bad, but can be, which is why the motifs of religious organizations should always be questioned.

5 - Misinterpretation of religious texts can lead to extremely damaging behaviours
I think your response to his response is weak also, since you can't really draw the line as to what already counts as extremist or radical and what doesn't. If we break down the views of people who live in theocratic states, we see that the majority of people want apostates and homosexuals punished as well as believing in an old-fashioned family pattern (wife should obey her husband). And even throughout history, you had the Christian church causing mayhem pretty everywhere it found its place in. The debate around religion as a whole is not just about "terrorists" that cause some, for the state short-term and bearable damage, but rather the layer under it: those dangerous views being the general consensus of a religion- that causes the real danger, especially when these people come to the western countries to instill their values on us.

6 - The positive effects of religions can be provided by other instances. A simple friendly gathering would have the same effect
The answer before was tailored for yours specifically, so I guess there isn't much to write about here.

7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
The statement you made is relatively narrow-minded. Philosophy has been doing that for quite some time now, trying to find the answer for the purpose of life without the concept of a God. Going by your very first sentence, the work of the likes of Heidegger and Sartre would mean jack shit (excuse my French). The question as to "Why?" assuming it's the question "Why are we here?" doesn't need to have an answer, meaning that the meaning of life can be found in very different ways and can mean very different things. The meaning of life can be answered in a Heidegger or Sartre-esque way, "We have simply been thrown into this world with a conscience, and now we have to do the best with it, accomplishing the goals that make us happy long-term". So yea, disagreeing with your premise here.

8 - We can look for moral laws by ourselves instead of finding them in books
To answer your question simply: It's because our moral values shift ever so slightly that make our values be better and less outdated than the everlasting, over 2000 year old scriptural values. Then again, I would like to know what you mean by "atheist's point of view", seems kind of iffy to me.

At the end I would say that unifying at least the abrahamic religions, or putting them "in the same bag" is fair as they show enough parallels and are most likely influenced by each other.
 
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1 - Religions are the cause of many genocides
Aah the famous "religions make a lot of dead" argument. It is indeed an argument to say that religions should never have existed. I find it rather petty, because many apparently religious wars (brandishing a religious motive) are in fact driven by rather political or ethnic inclinations, but yes, it is certain that religions are causes that tend, unfortunately, to lead to conflicts.
Wait, so are you saying this is a valid point or not?

2 - Religions are based on unverifiable assertions that you believe only because you were brought up to believe in them
Proof of the existence of God and justifications for the existence of religions is an eternal debate. I don't think it is right to put all religions in one big bag and say "everything religious is unverifiable". If I take the example of Christianity (I am a Christian, this is the field I know best), the information that a man named Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life", and died crucified around the year 0, is extremely reliable ; several independent texts mention this. Well, these are the same texts that say that Jesus performed miracles in his life and that he resurrected three days after his death. You're going to say, "Yes, but if it turns out they lied and it's a conspiracy to make us believe in Christ". If you say that, you believe that these texts lie just as Christians believe that these texts are true. I don't think either side can claim more truth than the other.
For the second part of the sentence, this is not an argument to say that religions are harmful, but rather to justify that believing in them is an error of judgment.
"only because you were brought up to believe in them"
I first want to clarify that I didn't say this part of the point. While there are a large people who's initiation into religion is borne of being raised in that particular religion, that does not apply to all people.

The first part refers mostly to the existence of God(s). If the claim that a man named Jesus who fits the description of the Biblical Jesus and may even be the one who it refers to is correct, that still doesn't quantifiably prove the existence of God. I suppose I could clarify that the existence of God isn't unverifiable, but rather that it has yet to have been verified. If God exists, perhaps there is a way to verify his existence in an irrefutable way. But as of yet there has been no such thing, as far as my knowledge.

3 - Religions impose so-called divine laws
Yes, religions impose laws. If you want to go through with the demonstration, you have to show that these laws are harmful to society. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" doesn't seem to me to be a harmful law. (I'm sorry to only take Christian examples)
Hmmm, I actually disagree in that I must show that the laws are harmful to society because my qualm is not with the laws themselves but rather with how they are derived. My biggest issue with religiously obtained laws like the one you had mentioned is the source. If a god grants laws to someone (which, firstly, we do not know if it is true that a god wrote those laws to begin with), how do those laws update as society changes? How are they amended? How are they enforced?
In order to amend or implement a religiously obtained law, there either must be a consultation with said god (which again, would not be verifiable) or there would have to be a human decision making process that is separate from god. The former is a bad idea in my opinion because it could be easily exploitable. If going through with the latter, then the law could have easily been created and implemented by humans in the first place.

4 - Religions suck up money that could be put to much better use
This argument is the worst of all. First of all religions don't "suck" that much money, at least not these days. Many (most, in my country) priests and Imams earn less than the minimum wage ; the construction of churches, mosques and synagogues is rare ; the maintenance of these buildings is really an anecdotal amount ; very many states, especially European ones, do not subsidize religions. These are many small sums combined, which together do not make a very large sum. Moreover, to say this is to assume that the money freed up by the suppression of religions would automatically go to just causes. You know very well that the money spent on truly just causes is a microscopic part of the expenses of men.

Even if this were the case, this argument would be fallacious. Most religions believe they are acting for the salvation of the world. They spend their money either for the message they carry or directly for the poor and unfortunate. Saying "society would be better without your action", "you're stealing money from just causes" only applies to one point of view, that of the atheist (not even for the agnostic, since he refuses to give an opinion); and more than that, it's an extremely disrespectful behavior toward all those who give their time, their money, and sometimes their life for these causes.
I will not deny that people can have good intentions with money in religion, but systematically there are many cases in which there are problems that arise from money in religious institutions. The sad fact of the matter is that many organizations that go out and do charity work will make a portion of that charity work involve some sort of spreading of the religion. For example, my mother's co-worker does mission trips of South America. Part of those trips involves the purchasing and distributing of bibles to the residents of the country they visit. Charity work could be wonderful, and even with the aforementioned fact they are still taking clothes and food to ravaged communities. But... if the organization was identical but non-religious in what they do, that money spent on bibles could have gone to something else such as food, housing water, or maybe even paying volunteers.
I will admit that these opinions are based on my own worldview, and to me having food and water and shelter are all more important than having a bible. But I think it's harmful because at the end of the day, you could be sure that all humans need food and water. Not all humans need a bible. So the resources on necessities toward at risk communities are skewed because of religious involvement.

5 - Misinterpretation of religious texts can lead to extremely damaging behaviours
Yes. The suppression of religions would lead to the disappearance of religious extremism. However, this is a very weak argument, since extremely few people are affected by them. To say this is not to forget these people, it is to put things into perspective.
"since extremely few people are affected by them."
How much is a justifiable amount of religious extremism existing?

6 - The positive effects of religions can be provided by other instances. A simple friendly gathering would have the same effect
The answer is exactly the same as for argument number 4. Excuse me, but it is still a very weak argument.
In this instance, I was talking about the formation of community- a positive effect of religion- being achievable by forming communities around commonly held interests or recreational activities. In terms of community-building, is there something that religion provides that cannot be obtained by other forms of people gathering together regularly?

7 - The meaning of life can be found on earth, no need for such unreliable things as religions
I don't think you can give meaning to your life without religion. One can only accept not understanding, say "Okay, I'll live my life, and we'll see", which is very different. Searching for the meaning of life means answering the question "Why?". This answer certainly does not exist for atheists. "Life for itself" isn't the meaning of life, it's just how all living beings act. They try to survive, this has nothing to do with meaning.
As for the unreliable part, refer to the 4th answer.
I'm an atheist and I found meaning in my life. Isn't it up to each individual to develop their own life's meaning?

8 - We can look for moral laws by ourselves instead of finding them in books
Yes, but once again you don't go all the way. Now you have to show why our own laws would be better than those of religions. And even if you do, it is again from the atheist's point of view.
I discussed this a bit earlier when I talked about why I think it is fallacious to have a religiously created source of laws rather than a secular one.

Finally I disagree with your approach, which is to put all the so-called "religions" in the same bag and to say that we would live better without them. Yes there are many different beliefs which give rise to religions, but they have messages and actions which are extremely different from each other, and it's not possible to unify them as if they were all the same thing.
Yes, I was speaking extremely generally and I will definitely give you that. However I have yet to find a religion that refutes the feelings I posted earlier.
I do want to clarify that this is my opinion based on the knowledge I've gathered through my life and I don't want to put people down who do choose to follow religion- I think everyone has that right if they so desire. I also will say I do not support suppression of religious freedom and the scenario of "the world would be better off" is a hypothetical in which religion did not exist in the first place.
 
I don't think this is a very good take at all, in fact it comes off as ignorant.

You attribute all of these bad things to solely religion; genocides, "divine right of rule," some abstract 'subservience,' monetary issues which can be directed to humanitarian issues, tribalism. You also claim that the fulfilling aspects of religion can be attained by something else, such as recreational activities or mutual interests, and that meaning in life can be found in earthly desires.
I'll explain a bit for this quoted section.
I said in my post "No genocides based on what belief set people happened to follow or be born into. ", which is referring specifically to genocide with religion as the motivating cause. This isn't to say genocide would magically disappear if religion didn't exist, but rather the specific motivations that caused certain genocides to occur would not be there, making it possible that such genocides would not have happened.
The same could be said for Divine Right of rule, monarchs would still exist but it is easier to challenge the tangible concept of family-based power than the concept of god-granted rule in my opinion, as god is separated from the picture.
Similar things could be said for the rest of the items listed, and I could clarify if you'd like. In other words, actions listed may still occur but without the religious motivation for them to occur and, as such (in my opinion) would occur less or be easier to be dealt with.

What it really reads as is you take special issue with Western religions, the Abrahamic triad, rather than disliking all religions. Your idea of what "religion" is seems to be catering to a deity, which just simply isn't the case. In surmising your argument of the problematic aspects of religion, they can be divided into two parts: Tribal tendencies and abuse of power.
I will admit, the religious beliefs that I have the most experience with are Catholicism, Santeria, Abrahamic religions as a whole (Christianity, Islam, Judaism- in that order of familiarity), and some general spiritual trains of thought that fits into the "spiritual but not religious" category.
As such, yes I do see religion as being a system in which there is a belief and worship of a divine entity(or entities). I will admit I do not have knowledge of other religions like the one you mentioned at the end of your post, but when I speak about religion I speak about the system I just mentioned.

The first, tribalism, is not some factor entirely exclusive to religion or those who practice it. Consider in the scientific community, in academia, the varying stances and zeitgeists that emerge in the most narrow of topics. Look at politics, where you can see Democrats infighting over the best course to lead the nation, or wider to see Red vs Blue. You state that "consciousness and morality can be debated and thought over rather than granted as-is" but this already happens. Pick up any philosophy book and you can find introspection on what it means to be moral while someone also holds the view of their preferred deity, or non at all (Descartes comes to mind). Tribalism, and therefore, genocide, is not something inherent to religion but something inherent to humanity as a whole. If you take an evolutionary stance, which I assume would be acclimate to you, then people are hardwired to prefer things similar to them in beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, while also being predisposed to fear or at least dislike things that are different from them. A person's culture is not shaped by their religion, rather it is the exact opposite: a person's religion is shaped by their culture (and I mean "person" to refer to an abstract group of people, not individuals). What a society's culture is, composed of their moral code, rituals, and preferences, will invariably find their way into their explanation of the history of everything, i.e. religion. The stories told in their culture are most often used as metaphors to describe their own moral code, and only taken literally by zealots (one example can be modern Christianity, or Hindusim). As for "subservience" I'm not entirely sure why you consider this a bad thing as I don't consider subservience to Christ or Brahma to be any different from one being a slave to their own moral code or thinking, the only difference is one is considered the moral code personified so as to be more easily relate-able.
The main problem I have with the tribalism that is specific to religion is that it is especially hard to combat given that the guidelines/laws/demands/etc are divinely granted. In this case, the ideas are almost "untouchable" as you cannot discuss them with their originator.
Again, this is speaking based on the definition of religion I used outlined above.
As for the subservience piece, the main issue I take is that subservience to a deity means that the morals granted by said deity are harder to challenge and protected by the deity's intangibility compared to someone's self-derived or elsewhere-obtained morals.

The second, abuse of power, is, again, not an attribute exclusive to religion, but rather a condemnation of the most basic of nature's laws. The law instilled in nature is survival of the fittest, and abuse of power is the Fit exerting their will because that is what they determine to be the best course at the time. Now that can be criticized or 180'd in hindsight, but it is human nature for those in power to abuse it in ways that most benefit them, because all creatures are selfish and cannot see past their ego. Divine right of rule is one such example; though I cannot prove I guarantee you that in some manner rules such as King Henry VIII would have maintained power and distributed it to his children regardless of Divine Right, as prior to the 17th century Kings ruled and taught their sons the trade anyway. I think you're wrongly attributing some form of rebellious will to the common person during that time by criticizing "divine right of rule." To misallocation of funds, allocation of funds for a religion is no different than any other superfluous government body. Religion, in fact, does far more than the poorly allocated funds of government spending. Religion gives people hope during stressful times, and leads to personal development for a lot of people.

Wills, et. al found that religiosity had a severe impact on preventing children from turning to drug abuse including drinking during times of life stress. In Brown and Prudo it was found that belief in religion was found to be protective to vulnerability for depression. Barton and Miller found that higher scores of religiosity and positive psychology are associated with decreased levels of depression symptoms, higher value in meaning in life, and lower instances of substance abuse. Psychology scholars theorize that substance use in particular is motivated by an innate craving of spirituality.

I'm not saying that you need religion in your life to find meaning, or that religion is not used as a vehicle for power abuse, but the issues you point out and the workarounds you mention are not cogent. The issues with religion all stem from human nature which would not be changed thru a lack of religion and you completely ignore the positives of religion and spirituality. Your suggestions would have the exact opposite effect that you presented; they read with a severe lack of understanding about theology. Your arguments seem to stem purely from modern Christianity and Islam, and I highly recommend looking into understanding the backbones of more religions, specifically eastern religions and spirituality in Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism.
Sorry if I sound a bit like a broken record in my response but the same issue for me is there still- abuse of power when religiously based is, in my opinion, harder to challenge than abuse of power otherwise.

I do not want to make it seem like there no positive effects that come from religion, but rather I believe that positive outcomes could come from something else that isn't religion. Also, the negative aspects of religion outweigh justifying its existence. I believe that community building can be secular or based on community customs that do not include religion.

However, I will once again grant that I do not have knowledge of some of the religions you had posted at the end of your post, and as such my view is based on how I define religion, which may be what you find in the dictionary in the west but isn't necessarily what may be the case elsewhere.
 

Myzozoa

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None of yall are really getting at what religion is. Religion is just a blue print for governance that ppl use to organize themselves in the absence of a more (or less) rational entity to organize around. If you provide the basic services like counseling, health care, child care, and food that churches currently supply ppl will be weaned off religion in a few generations. Thats why capitalism breeds so many crazy cults, the state is austere and the highest bidders are allowed to step in.
 
I’ll get my big hot take out of the way: You should not be circumcising your children and the only reason Americans do so by and large now is because a nutjob with the Kellogg surname promoted it because he didn’t want people to be able to masturbate. The health claims are bogus, too; a UTI prophylaxis should not have a chance of causing an infection on its own. If an adult wants to have themselves circumcised because of their religion or because they’re too lazy to wash their junk once in a while, that’s their call, but don’t make the call for someone not old enough to decide on their own.

Anyway, one more hot take: People who become vegans aren’t doing so for health reasons, they’re doing it so they can claim moral superiority. Veganism is basically just eco-fascism.
Agreed on not circumcising your children.

However, I think the vegan point is far too uh... "speaking in absolutes" I guess. I won't deny that some people go vegan to fulfill some sort of moral superiority, but I think it's a bit ridiculous to prescribe that to all people who choose to go vegan especially to label it as eco-facism which is a pretty harsh term that is connected to neo nazi movements iirc.
For example... I know someone at my work who is a typical older man, in his 60s. He recently went vegan in an attempt to become healthier after a health scare. In doing so, he's been feeling better about his body and has improved his health. We've gotten know each other in our downtime at work and he talks often about his brother's restaurant upstate with love- a restaurant where they serve lots of different hot sauces that go well with different meat. No judgement or putting him down or anything. Not a hint of "I'm better than him for eating meat". Additionally, he has also explained that he doesn't like dictating what others should and shouldn't eat. I'm not him, so I can't say what he is or isn't thinking but I would take him at his word when he says he has no desire to be morally superior to others due to his diet choices.
 

Adamant Zoroark

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Agreed on not circumcising your children.

However, I think the vegan point is far too uh... "speaking in absolutes" I guess. I won't deny that some people go vegan to fulfill some sort of moral superiority, but I think it's a bit ridiculous to prescribe that to all people who choose to go vegan especially to label it as eco-facism which is a pretty harsh term that is connected to neo nazi movements iirc.
For example... I know someone at my work who is a typical older man, in his 60s. He recently went vegan in an attempt to become healthier after a health scare. In doing so, he's been feeling better about his body and has improved his health. We've gotten know each other in our downtime at work and he talks often about his brother's restaurant upstate with love- a restaurant where they serve lots of different hot sauces that go well with different meat. No judgement or putting him down or anything. Not a hint of "I'm better than him for eating meat". Additionally, he has also explained that he doesn't like dictating what others should and shouldn't eat. I'm not him, so I can't say what he is or isn't thinking but I would take him at his word when he says he has no desire to be morally superior to others due to his diet choices.
I'm largely speaking anecdotally on my point re: veganism, I'll admit. I'm sure there are vegans out there who genuinely take up the diet for health reasons and to which the label of eco-fascist would not apply, so maybe I was a bit hasty applying the eco-fascist label to veganism as a whole. My experience with vegans has been that they go out of their way to tell you that they're vegan and always make it a point to tell you that you're a bad person for eating meat. Those types are definitely eco-fascists. Your older coworker seems like a cool dude, so it's refreshing to hear a story of someone who didn't take up a vegan diet to claim moral superiority.
 
I'm largely speaking anecdotally on my point re: veganism, I'll admit. I'm sure there are vegans out there who genuinely take up the diet for health reasons and to which the label of eco-fascist would not apply, so maybe I was a bit hasty applying the eco-fascist label to veganism as a whole. My experience with vegans has been that they go out of their way to tell you that they're vegan and always make it a point to tell you that you're a bad person for eating meat. Those types are definitely eco-fascists. Your older coworker seems like a cool dude, so it's refreshing to hear a story of someone who didn't take up a vegan diet to claim moral superiority.
I studied and have a degree in dietetics so I may know more vegans than the average person, and most of them were pretty cool and friendly. Most of them seemed to be in it (at least primarily) for the health reasons and a lot of them I didn't even know until it was like "let's go somewhere, eat and study" and they'd ask "oh are there any vegan options?" and that's how I'd find out.
I think unfortunately the worst, like the ones you mentioned, are the loudest. PETA-brand vegans might be a good way to put them. And I agree that they are definitely a big problem. I think one of the worst parts is the severe lack of unawareness when it comes to diet and finances. I kid you not I witnessed someone recommend 20$ a week vegan eating and said "one week you would buy the spices and so you wouldn't have groceries- but don't worry the spices last a long time!" Needless to say I definitely argued with that supposed "meal plan" (or lack thereof, really).
 
I’ll get my big hot take out of the way: You should not be circumcising your children and the only reason Americans do so by and large now is because a nutjob with the Kellogg surname promoted it because he didn’t want people to be able to masturbate. The health claims are bogus, too; a UTI prophylaxis should not have a chance of causing an infection on its own. If an adult wants to have themselves circumcised because of their religion or because they’re too lazy to wash their junk once in a while, that’s their call, but don’t make the call for someone not old enough to decide on their own.
The real big reason it's popular now is money. American medical organizations promote it and fund studies to encourage it because it's incredibly profitable; they make money from the surgery itself as well as from a potentially lengthened hospital stay.

It's essentially also become a legal form of organ harvesting, since hospitals can sell the foreskins to cosmetics companies for an easy profit.
 

Adamant Zoroark

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The real big reason it's popular now is money. American medical organizations promote it and fund studies to encourage it because it's incredibly profitable; they make money from the surgery itself as well as from a potentially lengthened hospital stay.

It's essentially also become a legal form of organ harvesting, since hospitals can sell the foreskins to cosmetics companies for an easy profit.
Everything checks out. Thanks for that for-profit healthcare, America!
 
The real big reason it's popular now is money. American medical organizations promote it and fund studies to encourage it because it's incredibly profitable; they make money from the surgery itself as well as from a potentially lengthened hospital stay.

It's essentially also become a legal form of organ harvesting, since hospitals can sell the foreskins to cosmetics companies for an easy profit.
I wanna meet the guy who works at whatever kinda plant processes foreskins ‘cause I have questions.
 

tcr

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Definition of 'Religion' said:
I do see religion as being a system in which there is a belief and worship of a divine entity(or entities).
  1. The negative aspects of religion outweigh justifying its existence.
    1. In this case, the ideas are almost "untouchable" as you cannot discuss them with their originator.
    2. it is easier to challenge the tangible concept of family-based power than the concept of god-granted rule in my opinion, as god is separated from the picture.
    3. the morals granted by said deity are harder to challenge and protected by the deity's intangibility compared to someone's self-derived or elsewhere-obtained morals.
    4. I believe that community building can be secular or based on community customs that do not include religion.
I formatted your post for easier consumption for me. This appears to be your argument, with the first argument being that the negative consequences of religion outweigh the positive impacts it might have, and the bullet points below that being supplementary material in that post. The definition of "religion" in this argument is "a system where there is belief and worship of a divine entity." If I left anything out from that post do let me know.

Now the supplementary points are the same premise reworded: justification through God cannot be debated due to the nature of God. Why do you think this is, any more so than any other centric moral code? What in particular makes "divine right" any less challengeable as an argument compared to someone's moral code or other intrinsic values they have? You claim this but make no argument for it.

To challenge the "divine right" argument, as it is the easiest and most blatant parallel to challenging an argument for this, I would recommend reading Locke, namely First Treatsie of Civil Government. Arguments in opposition of deity-backed claims have been in play since at least the 1700s. The material is out there for people to peruse and the arguments are not that difficult to follow. What matters is if people listen, and as I'm sure you can probably tell from most any debate, people are very unlikely to shift opinions core to their line of thinking. This is not a religious fault, this is a human fault. You are not as likely to stop the Israel-Palestine conflict by negating religion as there will always be some other method for why people will justify themselves in their ingroups, and there is no quiddity to religion that makes it somehow more cogent in its justifications for actions than any other motivation. Centuries of history has profoundly expanded upon this.

As to your 4th point, sure community building can be secular or based on non-religious customs, which in turn means customs that do not involve some subservience to a deity. 4th and 5th century China are testaments to this with a society based around Confucianism; Buddhism spread all throughout Asia; arguably Hindu societies as well. All of these have had their own atrocities, their own backings and justifications. Thailand Theravada Buddhists called for killing of Communists without violation of the Five Precepts (despite the First Precept being to refrain from taking any life). Secular societies in turn have their own wealth of criticisms, from critiques of Communist political theory to critiques of Capitalist political theory.

Rather than Religion being some "higher level" justification for tragedies around the world, it is far more likely that tragic events occur due to a myriad of complex grey reasoning. You seem to be in the typical anti-theist state of young adulthood (one which I myself went through when I was 17 or so). I strongly recommend researching cultures outside of your own. The blanket statement of accusing a broad cultural pillar of religion when your exposure to it is exclusively the Abrahamic triad, and a shallow Western view at that, is telling.

If you are interested in actual literature to read through to try to expand more can be found below:

Understanding arguments against jure divino arguments (divine law)
Two Treatsies of Civil Government - Locke
Critique of Pure Reason - Kant

Understanding ontological arguments (proofs of God)
Plantinga
Meditations on First Philosophy - Descartes
 

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