Not bad, but Not true.

To be serious for a second: my thing about religion is generally not that it’s bad, but that it’s false. The history of religion is far too complex to be summed up as ‘good” or ‘bad,” and there are obviously components of both. The Salvation Army, odious discrimination policies notwithstanding, does a tremendous amount of good. Religious people are generally better at donating to charity than non-religious ones (last I heard; I don’t have specific figures, so this could be wrong). And I like a lot of the art and architecture.

Sean at Cosmic Variance

I think that most large movements (religious, political, economic) have good sides and bad sides.

Look at Iraq. Saddam was an ruthless dictator who ruled with an iron fist, but the streets were safer. We are trying to give Iraq democracy and freedom, but the streets are less safe then a white guy in a white sheet with a pointy hat in Compton.

I think that we need to look at all of our institutions, and remove the negative portions. They are simply not healthy for us, or for our children.

3 thoughts on “Not bad, but Not true.”

  1. Yeah – the green zone is sure safer :)

    <blockquote>"Saying we need to get rid of the bad stuff is pretty banal…While it is true, it is also useless."</blockquote>

    At the very least, it starts a discourse. To simply ignore the bad parts, and accept the status quo is to doom us to repeating the same mistakes over and over.

    I think that if we distill it down, we can agree on several ‘bad things’ that we should look at:

    <li>Hurting Others physically</li>
    <li>Hurting others emotionally</li>
    <li>Harming ourselves</li>
    <li>Spreading Hate</li>

    While some of these are very hard to attain, some are very simple. Simply decide not to use violence as a negotiation technique. Simply decide to not strap that bomb to your chest and blow up a Mosque.

    When the simple things are hard, the hard things are nigh near impossible. We need to make the simple things simple again, and then work on the hard things.

    We need to reject teachings of hate, no matter where the come from. Islam, Christianity, Paganism – all have their skeletons. Let’s air them out, and see what we can build that is better.

  2. Human and human institutions not being perfect is hardly a new idea.

    Saying we need to get rid of the bad stuff is pretty banal, like saying the cure for cancer is to get better. While it is true, it is also useless. We don’t agree on what is good and bad, and even when we do agree, unanticipated effects can thwart our efforts.

    Also, some streets in Iraq may have been safer under Saddam, but not all of them.

  3. A partial institutionectomy? I like the idea, but I’m curious as to how it could be done. People get pretty attached to their institutions. That’s why they’re…well, institutions.

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