RELIGION(S): A long history of fraud, plagiarism, or is it really true?

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    Feb 26, 2009 7:31 PM GMT
    Me and my boss came across this video on YouTube and it was pretty enlightening. I'm not here to preach my beliefs to anybody. (I mean upon watching the video, I don't even know if my religion is true or not!) But I just want to share this video as a sort of an eye opener and a different take on religion. Quite fascinating and engaging. And yes, I'm Catholic born and raised.

    I'm sure some might consider this heresy, blasphemous, but whatever. Knowledge is power.



    VIDEO 1




    VIDEO 2




    VIDEO 3

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    Feb 26, 2009 9:06 PM GMT
    im sorry the answer with a question.
    what was first light, or the luminaries?
    and is the messenger the most important part, or the message?
    ( on that story's of course)
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    Feb 26, 2009 11:12 PM GMT
    Rent Religulous.
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    Feb 26, 2009 11:21 PM GMT
    A cursory study of Zoarastrianism will show too many parallels to Christianity to be coincidental.

    The concept of a one-god (monotheism) seems to come directly from Egypt: no coincidence that they were trading partners and subjugators of ancient Israel.
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    Feb 27, 2009 12:11 AM GMT

    O God. Delivis! This thread is calling you!!
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Feb 27, 2009 1:23 AM GMT
    Here is a very famous video ....
    Religion is brainwashing ... plain and simple
    nothing more and nothing less

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  • dantoujours

    Posts: 378

    Feb 27, 2009 2:07 AM GMT
    "Religulous" was so full of strawmen it was ridiculous. My church watched it and I spent half my time in puzzlement and half in amusement. Though it made for interesting discussion when it was over, no one was particularly threatened by it. Most of it was a "swing and a miss" and obviously meant more to convince the already-convinced than win over the other side. (Christian apologetics also suffers from the same problem and is an equal waste of time.)

    There are doctrines found in both Christianity and other religions, like Zoroastrianism. It is historical fact that Palestine was conquered by the Persians and many Hebrews were deported to Persia in 597BCE. While there, they picked up concepts like heaven, hell, final judgment, angels, demons, etc. from these Persians, who followed Zoroastrianism. These doctrines appear in Old Testament writings dated right after that deportation and they are carried into the New Testament. (The Three Wise Men in the Christmas Narrative are also thought to be Zoroastrians.) By the first century BCE these beliefs were specifically held by the Pharisee school of Judaism, who Jesus is presented as arguing with in the Gospels (and perhaps was part of Himself.)

    There are also some parallel beliefs between Christianity and the fertility religions of 1st Century Rome (Though it is a logical fallacy to assume that correlation means causation, those parallels do exist.)

    Most mainstream (non-fundamentalist) religious people would shrug and say that this means Judaism, Zoroastrianism, the Roman fertility religions and Christianity each discovered ideas and forms that point to a larger base truth. Even St. Paul said that God revealed Himself to different people through the workings of the world and that they had some understanding of who God was and how He works (Read the book of Romans) We would ask who cares if the pagans discovered it first?

    I am sure that fundamentalist Christians might find these facts troubling, but they tend to be the more ignorant of Church history and Biblical scholarship outside of a few "clobber" passages, but none of this is news for the rest of us.


    BTW: Your videos take issue with Christian doctrines, but you titled your thread "Religion(s): A long history of..." Christianity isn't the only religion in world and this does nothing to show that all religions are frauds (if any of them are, though there are frauds in every religion and amongst the unreligious.)
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    Feb 27, 2009 2:33 AM GMT
    Karl Marx was right in the religion is the opiate of the masses.
  • dantoujours

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    Feb 27, 2009 2:38 AM GMT
    Perhaps, but anyone who is honest with themselves knows they use one opiate or another to get through life, and everyone puts some faith into the unprovable in one way or another.

    We aren't all that different.
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:00 AM GMT
    dantoujours saidWe aren't all that different.

    Nope, for the most part, logic, educated people are Kantian universalists.
  • Delivis

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    Feb 27, 2009 3:05 AM GMT
    Study the history of religions. Virtually everything you find in any of the monotheisms is traceable back to an earlier religion.

    Virtually every single belief in every religion is not unique or original to it or thrown down to you from on high, it is culturally and socially inherited.
  • dantoujours

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    Feb 27, 2009 3:10 AM GMT
    Pinny said
    dantoujours saidWe aren't all that different.

    Nope, for the most part, logic, educated people are Kantian universalists.


    Logic is every bit as much a human construct as religion (which is something that Kant himself would agree with, BTW). And a lot of very well educated people embrace religion (and a lot don't.)

    You're merely substituting one dogmatic view of the world for another here.
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:16 AM GMT
    I read a bit of research lately about how religions were caused by genetics and evolution, which was pretty interesting in the face of some religious extremists' rejection of evolution.

    Some pretty good arguments are presented as to how historically religions have helped tribes stay together. I guess there's always hope it'll evolve into something healthy for modern society one day too. Until then, we'll just have to keep fighting for equality.
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:21 AM GMT
    It's very easy to see the compelling comfort that Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. afford. I won't trash the choices that humans make to ease their journey into the great unknown.

    But I disagree that because these religions have parallels demonstrates some common truth to each. I think the parallels reveal a common ancestry in some regards, and a polluting influence in others (not unlike the polluting influence of language mixing).

    The parallels in morality are undoubtedly an ancestral relationship; the parallels of good god versus devil god, virgin births and resurrection are parallels of pollution.
  • dantoujours

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    Feb 27, 2009 3:23 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidIt's very easy to see the compelling comfort that Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. afford. I won't trash the choices that humans make to ease their journey into the great unknown.

    But I disagree that because these religions have parallels demonstrates some common truth to each. I think the parallels reveal a common ancestry in some regards, and a polluting influence in others (not unlike the polluting influence of language mixing).

    The parallels in morality are undoubtedly an ancestral relationship; the parallels of good god versus devil god, virgin births and resurrection are parallels of pollution.


    We all make our own value judgments.
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:27 AM GMT
    dantoujours saidWe all make our own value judgments.
    Actually, I made more of an argument. I reserved my judgment, and I was careful not to trash yours.
  • dantoujours

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    Feb 27, 2009 3:31 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    dantoujours saidWe all make our own value judgments.
    Actually, I made more of an argument. I reserved my judgment, and I was careful not to trash yours.


    Well, not really. You made a judgment that certain doctrines are "polluted" and certain doctrines aren't. You didn't make much of an argument as you didn't explain what led you to choose which beliefs to put in your columns, and why anyone else should share that criteria. Now that would be a true argument.

    You also based it on an assumption that these doctrines are "mixed" which isn't necessarily shared by mainstream historians or theologians.

    (And I do have to note the irony that you cite language mixing, yet you are making this argument in English which pulls its grammar and vocabulary from Latin, Latin via French, Greek, German and Gaelic and is the most mixed and therefore "polluted" language in the western world, yet we consider that a strength.)

    You are certainly entitled to call anything you want pollution using any criteria you choose, but it isn't going to convince someone else that they are by merely doing so.



    (And what's wrong with agreeing to disagree anyway?)
  • calibro

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    Feb 27, 2009 3:39 AM GMT
    Very interesting... I had no idea about a lot of that stuff, so thanks for letting me in on a bit of history.
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:49 AM GMT
    Pinny saidNope, for the most part, logic, educated people are Kantian universalists.


    Actually, few educated people are Kantian universalists. Universalism does not survive the is-ought gap, unless it is axiomatic, in which case it is not Kantian.

    Neo-Kantianism is another matter, but even that approach seems to be losing its sex appeal.
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    Feb 27, 2009 4:30 AM GMT
    dantoujours said"polluted"
    You're making too much of the word polluted. Polluted here means mixed, and not pure (as in divine). My argument was just fine. And actually, historians haven't denied the cross-cultural polluting effects of religions (particularly those which come from the same geographic area). Please cite the historians who are making the case for next-door religions teaching the same mythologies as coincidental and not cross-pollinated.

    Languages are polluted by their exposure to other languages. That the language is stronger or weaker is irrelevant. The point is that it happens.

    Religion hasn't demonstrated strength or truth because more than one religion espouses a virgin birth. Last I checked, they were neither the same century, the same virgin, nor the same gestated deity. Truth wouldn't be so sloppy about such particulars. Are all religions with virgin birth deities true?
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    Feb 27, 2009 4:32 AM GMT
    This is more Zeitgeist rehash. Being a fan of mythology and superstition I had looked into the whole notion of Mithras resurrection which appears to have no scholarly backing as well as a whole lot of other incorrect statements about what the various myths really say. The whole production is even rejected on skeptic.com:
    Skeptic.com articleThe Greatest Story Ever Garbled by Tim Callahan
    Perhaps the worst aspect of “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” Part I of Peter Joseph’s Internet film, Zeitgeist, is that some of what it asserts is true. Unfortunately, this material is liberally — and sloppily — mixed with material that is only partially true and much that is plainly and simply bogus.
    One of the more damning features of zeitgeist is it's conspiracy bent:
    Skeptic.com articleConsidering that Part II of Zeitgeist asserts that the destruction of the World Trade Center was a conspiracy on the part of the powers that be, and that Part III is an attack on the Federal Reserve Board and income tax as unconstitutional plots devised by hidden powers bent on reducing all of us to poverty, one might wonder why Peter Joseph even bothered to open his film with an attack on Jesus and Christianity. ...
    Zeitgeist is The Da Vinci Code on steroids.
    Please go to the above link to read the whole article. It is interesting.

    Also
    http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/MithrasThere are many misconceptions about the relationship about Mithraism and Christianity. Some of these are misinterpretations of real facts, and others are simply utterly wrong. Here are some of the more common outright falsehoods:
    * Mithras was born of a virgin. Mithras was born out of a rock, often called the petra genetrix. He is often portrayed as already wearing a Phrygian cap and holding a dagger in one hand and a torch in the other. See Manfred Clauss' work The Roman Cult of Mithras, pp. 62-71.
    * Mithras was attended by shepherds at his birth. This appears to come from Mithras being attended by two torchbearers, but these are not shepherds. Again, see Clauss, p. 68-69.
    * Mithras had twelve disciples. This appears to be derived from some iconography in the mithraea where the twelve symbols of the zodiac are arrayed around the scene of Mithras killing the bull. The connection between twelve disciples and twelve signs of the zodiac is made in the book The Jesus Mysteries and by Acharya S (D.Murdock)[1].
    * Mithras died and was resurrected. This appears to be derived from a brief mention by Tertullian, a second-century Christian apologist, who writes in his Prescription Against Heretics, chapter 40, that "if my memory still serves me, Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan, ) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers; celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a resurrection, and before a sword wreathes a crown [2]." Tertullian's comment is unclear about what this "image of a resurrection" is supposed to mean, and it is not clear if indeed his memory does serve him. Claims that the mythology of Mithras actually included his death and resurrection are absent from work by Mithraic scholars such as Franz Cumont and Manfred Clauss, nor is it in the Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies, and there is no evidence from the iconography of the mithraea that he even died. There is discussion in Cumont and the Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies of Mithraists sharing with the Zoroastrians a belief in the resurrection of the dead in the final judgment of the world, but not discussion of Mithras himself being resurrected. (It is quite possible that during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, "Zoroastrian thought from Persia was a contributing factor" to the idea of resurrection in Judaism [3], so if Mithraism and Christianity did share a belief in the resurrection, it is most likely by common ancestry, with Christianity getting this belief from Judaism.)
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    Feb 27, 2009 4:46 AM GMT

    Assaults on religion are the new cause celebre among intellectuals. Before, those in the ivory towers -so hopelessly detached from reality- argued about the institution of democracy, how to end genocides, and free market policies in Africa. But since we all know those issues have been solved, the intelligentsia has turned its critical eye to religion and the religious. Reason, they argue, reason and logic to be imparted on us, the ignorant masses; as if the belief in God was somehow a fatal intellectual flaw.

    Arguing against Deism has in fact become a rite of passage for any self-professed intellectual. Lifting an accusatory finger, patronizing, condescending against those deemed inferior for holding a truth based on faith. Rehashing the same tired arguments, recycling the old phrase 'proof God exists', using it -perhaps unconsciously- as a weapon to stake their own intellectual superiority.


    Well let me tell you, it's VERY easy to argue against religion. Very easy to yell out 'reason!' and watch us all be dumb with disbelief. I find it hypocritical and even offensive that most people (some on this thread) who argue reason really have no idea what reason is, or how to deploy it correctly.

    The very argument is so empty. I believe in God and you don't. SO WHAT? Do you derive some intellectual satisfaction from it? Some misplaced sense of higher critical thinking? Why is this debate taking place in the first place, if not for some people's need to validate their self-concept of reasoning intellectuals? I call bullshit. If it makes you feel smarter to patronize the religious, do it. I will not pass judgement on such futile idiocy.

    All this intellectual power is better served finding solutions to real problems. People are dying in Darfur, fossil fuels are being exhausted, secondary education in America is obsolete... But it's much easier to put on the costume of 'intellectual' and use what little brain power is needed to attack religion, instead of the enormous intellectual investment necessary to placate world crises.

    And here's something else, to all you pseudo-intellectuals who get on your high horse about reason and science... when you understand the subtleties of the human genome project, when you understand genomics and proteomics, when you know what currents gave rise to phenomenology, when you can describe to me in detail and from memory how to construct an atomic bomb, when you can tell me why the periodic table is the best scientific instrument there is; THEN I'll listen to your arguments against religion. Stop masquerading as reasonable men who pretend to understand Science.

    I believe in God. and I'm also a Scientist.

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    Feb 27, 2009 5:23 AM GMT
    collegeswimmr said...when you understand the subtleties of the human genome project, when you understand genomics and proteomics, when you know what currents gave rise to phenomenology, when you can describe to me in detail and from memory how to construct an atomic bomb, when you can tell me why the periodic table is the best scientific instrument there is; THEN I'll listen to your arguments against religion. Stop masquerading as reasonable men who pretend to understand Science.
    Let me get this straight: to have the honor to engage with you in reasoned discussion we must undertake Twelve Labors before you'll grace us with your attention? Sorry, I doubt anyone cares if you believe in a god or not. To a non-religious person you are not some lost sheep who must be convinced to join the flock--you're in or you're out. To those with something to lose (a god! after all), a secularist making an argument sounds like proselytizing, but it's not so...they are merely reinforcing their own conclusions (often very hard won at great personal cost) with additional observations. Whether or not you believe them is irrelevant.

    We're watching the great religions themselves become more and more secular as the decades and centuries go by. Most reasoning scientists who continue to believe in a god do so (I've observed) with great stipulation that they are not THAT kind of religious nut. At one time that was heresy.

    Every reasoning person suspects that this is a trend that will continue, with no complete conclusion, but with a disproportionately heavy secularist majority. Continue to believe what you want...I actually enjoy your god.
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    Feb 27, 2009 6:42 AM GMT
    collegeswimmr said
    Arguing against Deism has in fact become a rite of passage for any self-professed intellectual. Lifting an accusatory finger, patronizing, condescending against those deemed inferior for holding a truth based on faith. Rehashing the same tired arguments, recycling the old phrase 'proof God exists', using it -perhaps unconsciously- as a weapon to stake their own intellectual superiority.


    Arguing against THEISM. There's an ocean of difference between them. I may be atheist, but I too recognize the possibility of an original intelligence. Just not the story of creation.

    collegeswimmr saidAll this intellectual power is better served finding solutions to real problems. People are dying in Darfur, fossil fuels are being exhausted, secondary education in America is obsolete... But it's much easier to put on the costume of 'intellectual' and use what little brain power is needed to attack religion, instead of the enormous intellectual investment necessary to placate world crises.


    The thing about 'real problems' is that a lot of them are caused by religion itself. People are dying everyday from holy wars, homophobia, or whatever warped execution method some religion dictated upon its followers. Regarding fossil fuels, in the great western monotheisms, man is supreme over the natural world, and that means all natural resources and living things are his for the taking. In secondary education and education in general, creationists are still fighting over the right to be taught alongside evolution as legitimate theory, obsolete biblical verses are still quoted in lieu and in direct contradiction to scientific findings. And you wonder why it's a big thing nowadays to try and at least dissuade people from dogmatism?

    So you are a scientist. With all your knowledge of it, do you still believe the assertion that the Earth is only a few thousand years old? The difference is in what you know and how you deal with that knowledge.

    Condescension is unavoidable when you're arguing, for example, against the bathing in Ganges river with modern knowledge on hygiene. Or against the sentence of death on a woman about to be hanged for being raped according to the Shariah. Or the continuing war of Christian creationism against evolution. Will you really acquiesce to them simply because they too believe in God like you do?

    Yes I can tell you how to make an atomic bomb roughly, I learned it from a whim ages ago, though biochemistry or physics are not really my strong suit and I am not a scientist in the full meaning of the word. But I do not see how this would affect the fact that some people still believe that homosexuals and adulterers should be put to death because of their belief in God.

    The belief in God is not a fatal intellectual flaw. The belief in rituals, dogma, and clergy is.
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    Feb 27, 2009 6:48 AM GMT
    Satyricon331 said Universalism does not survive the is-ought gap,

    I tend to think it does or rather it is my Kantian beliefs that are polluting my universalist thoughts.