There are two ways to fix this

Religious-based violence has exploded in Nigeria again, no surprise there.

The rioting began Sunday after Muslim youths set a Catholic church ablaze. Witnesses said rioters armed with knives, homemade firearms and stones attacked passers-by and fought with security forces, leaving bodies in the street and stacked in local mosques.

The Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, issued a statement Tuesday blaming the violence on “some highly placed individuals in the society who were exploiting the ignorance and poverty of the people to cause mayhem in the name of religion.”

Religion does really help in exploiting ignorance, but since it’s also a source of it, it’s hard too separate the two so distinctly. And why is Lame suggesting religion is not the cause of this violence? Does he believe that if religion were removed, the exact same thing would be happening. If so, why?

The way I see it, there are two ways to fix this. The first is that we could all wire about $4995 to a bank account we’ve been told is set up through Nigeria, even though it is based in Atlanta. This has the magical property of then getting to us far more cash that we’ve been selected to win as a result of, I don’t know, being awesome. We then use our new-found wealth to promote religious activity in the country because clearly that’s the only thing they’ve got going for them. This entire strategy has the added benefit of being based upon all true things. Especially the magic part.

Alternatively – and this one’s really a kicker – get rid of religion entirely because there would then be far less reason for violence.

14 Responses

  1. Yes, getting rid of religions should help; just look at Mingistu’s Ethiopia – that was a fine example of an atheist paradise in Africa.

  2. Stop conflating Marxism with atheism.

  3. Your point is that getting rid of religion in Africa would somehow lessens violence – you are demonstrably, factually, historically, and otherwise completely wrong; Mingistu proves this.

  4. Your anecdotes don’t prove anything – there have been far more religions with power than secular causes. What’s more, the reason religion is such an evil is that it is ideological in nature. Replacing one ideology with another isn’t going to solve anything.

    So if you want to actually compare my point to history, you would have to find a non-ideological government or society which had less religion. Like Denmark or Sweden or Norway.

    It’s like I’ve been saying apples and oranges will be different, but then you insist on comparing Granny Smith to Red Delicious.

  5. Your anecdotes don’t prove anything – there have been far more religions with power than secular causes. What’s more, the reason religion is such an evil is that it is ideological in nature. Replacing one ideology with another isn’t going to solve anything.

    Now you are making a second claim, different than the first (perhaps because your first claim has been demolished). Instead of claiming that if religion were gone violence would lessen, now you are claiming if ideology were gone, violence would lessen. And that might be true; the problem of course is that no human civilization exists apart from ideology. In fact your beliefs constitute an ideology. So while that claim might be true, it is no more helpful or realistic than saying if humans were angels, violence would lessen.

    So if you want to actually compare my point to history, you would have to find a non-ideological government or society which had less religion. Like Denmark or Sweden or Norway.

    Norway and Sweden are not ‘non-ideological’ governments – their governmental systems are based on ideologies like everyone else’s – they have political parties, debates, etc.

    It’s like I’ve been saying apples and oranges will be different, but then you insist on comparing Granny Smith to Red Delicious.

    No, you keep saying that the non-existence of religion will lessen violence – I keep proving you wrong, so you move the goalposts. And even then you are still wrong.

  6. Now you are making a second claim, different than the first (perhaps because your first claim has been demolished). Instead of claiming that if religion were gone violence would lessen, now you are claiming if ideology were gone, violence would lessen. And that might be true; the problem of course is that no human civilization exists apart from ideology. In fact your beliefs constitute an ideology. So while that claim might be true, it is no more helpful or realistic than saying if humans were angels, violence would lessen.

    My claim has not changed. I’ve consistently said that religion is a source of violence. Why it is a source of violence isn’t something you’ve bothered to consider.

    Norway and Sweden are not ‘non-ideological’ governments – their governmental systems are based on ideologies like everyone else’s – they have political parties, debates, etc.

    This ‘definition’ of ideology is meaningless.

  7. My claim has not changed. I’ve consistently said that religion is a source of violence. Why it is a source of violence isn’t something you’ve bothered to consider.

    I wasn’t the one making the simplistic claim. It’s your responsibility to expound in a way that supports claims made, not mine. So far, adding these details to your claim hasn’t helped prove it, it’s only shown how silly a claim it was to begin with.

    This ‘definition’ of ideology is meaningless.

    I didn’t offer a definition, I assumed the common one.

    Again, if you are utilizing a unique definition of ideology, the burden is on you to show why that definition should be adopted in this case.
    So, thus far you seem only to have muddled your original point making it even weaker than when you started, which is an amazing accomplishment considering how bad the original point was.

  8. I wasn’t the one making the simplistic claim. It’s your responsibility to expound in a way that supports claims made, not mine. So far, adding these details to your claim hasn’t helped prove it, it’s only shown how silly a claim it was to begin with.

    This is getting dumber by the minute. Yes, you made the simplistic claim. Actually, it was a simplistic strawman where you thought that because I said religion is a source of evil that I must think there can be nothing worse and as long as it’s gone only good things can happen. Goodness. That’s what you think I said.

  9. This is getting dumber by the minute.

    No, this started dumb with your initial post.

    Yes, you made the simplistic claim.

    No I responded to this simplistic and silly claim that one should , “get rid of religion entirely because there would then be far less reason for violence.”

    Actually, it was a simplistic strawman where you thought that because I said religion is a source of evil that I must think there can be nothing worse and as long as it’s gone only good things can happen. Goodness. That’s what you think I said.

    No, I know you said what I quoted above – because, well, you wrote it. You are of course free to retract – as opposed to retreat, dissemble, and move the goal posts, your strategy thus far.

    Or you can just cling to your inane claim, which is fine with me because it is a rather easy argument to bash it to smithereens, and demonstrates the silliness of the atheist position.

    So please, by all means, stick to your guns on this one Michael.

  10. No I responded to this simplistic and silly claim that one should , “get rid of religion entirely because there would then be far less reason for violence.”

    There would also be less violence if we got rid of shotguns. But that doesn’t mean a handgun is suddenly impotent.

    Or you can just cling to your inane claim, which is fine with me because it is a rather easy argument to bash it to smithereens, and demonstrates the silliness of the atheist position.

    So please, by all means, stick to your guns on this one (sic) Michael.

    1) It is not an atheist position. Atheism does not say how one should or should not feel about religion. There are plenty of atheists (or faitheists) who are sympathetic to religious claims while others are not. Such disparities are possible because atheism does not demand any particular position be derived from it.

    2) Less religion will tend to lead to more peace. That much is true. Get rid of it all and you get even more peace. Of course, this is where the famous theist strawman enters the picture. Really, this was one of the only downfalls of The God Delusion: all the things it didn’t say that people claim it did.

    3) Get rid of your .22 and you’ve made progress. Replace it with a .38 and you haven’t changed much.

    4) Stop conflating Marxism with atheism.

  11. There would also be less violence if we got rid of shotguns. But that doesn’t mean a handgun is suddenly impotent.

    Actually, DC tried to get rid of all guns – and there wasn’t less violence, so wrong yet again, interestingly for the same reasons – the violence doesn’t come from an external sources.

    It is not an atheist position. Atheism does not say how one should or should not feel about religion. There are plenty of atheists (or faitheists) who are sympathetic to religious claims while others are not. Such disparities are possible because atheism does not demand any particular position be derived from it.

    Sure it is; in fact you parroted it from Dawkins, who is the modern guru on all things atheists should believe – and amazingly they all fall in line.So much for free thinking; I will be impressed when you are original.

    Less religion will tend to lead to more peace. That much is true. Get rid of it all and you get even more peace. Of course, this is where the famous theist strawman enters the picture. Really, this was one of the only downfalls of The God Delusion: all the things it didn’t say that people claim it did.

    But we know in fact there are places where there is ‘less religion’ than Nigeria has which are far less peaceful, and places where there is as much, or more religious belief, that are far more peaceful. So there is simply no correlation.

    Stop conflating Marxism with atheism.

    Marxists are typically atheists, and when in power diminish the prevalence of religion – which, contrary to you repeated claims, does not lead to more peace.

    Michael, it’s like your error is just compounding itself – do you enjoy being a piñata?

  12. Actually, DC tried to get rid of all guns – and there wasn’t less violence, so wrong yet again, interestingly for the same reasons – the violence doesn’t come from an external sources.

    If my argument was that the attempt to get rid of religion would result in less violence, then you would have something. But I didn’t say that. In fact, you just supported my entire point: get rid of one bad thing but replace it with another and you’ve done nothing. DC tried to get rid of guns, but they only could target certain gun ownership. Illegal firearms were still rampant. But do you think if DC actually got rid of all guns that there wouldn’t be less violence?

    God damn it, Jack. This stuff isn’t that difficult. You make awful analogies. You should have pointed to Britain’s strict gun control where firearms have been more generally eliminated, not just eliminated from a certain group. Of course, that would have shown your point wrong.

    Sure it is; in fact you parroted it from Dawkins, who is the modern guru on all things atheists should believe – and amazingly they all fall in line.So much for free thinking; I will be impressed when you are original.

    All things Richard Dawkins says are not the de facto atheist position. Besides that, his point still was not derived from atheism. A Christian could have made the very same point. Don’t be so dense.

    But we know in fact there are places where there is ‘less religion’ than Nigeria has which are far less peaceful, and places where there is as much, or more religious belief, that are far more peaceful. So there is simply no correlation.

    But there is a correlation between certain ideologies and violence. Religion is part of that correlation.

    Marxists are typically atheists, and when in power diminish the prevalence of religion – which, contrary to you repeated claims, does not lead to more peace.

    Marxists may have a high proportion of atheists, but atheists are not be default Marxist. The reason – again and again and again – is that atheism does not lead to one particular path or another, just like deism.

  13. If my argument was that the attempt to get rid of religion would result in less violence, then you would have something. But I didn’t say that. In fact, you just supported my entire point: get rid of one bad thing but replace it with another and you’ve done nothing. DC tried to get rid of guns, but they only could target certain gun ownership. Illegal firearms were still rampant. But do you think if DC actually got rid of all guns that there wouldn’t be less violence?

    No, not if the people there were prone to violence. People were terribly violent long before there were guns at all. Minnesota has lots of guns – we even have fairly liberal conceal and carry laws – but there isn’t nearly the violence here there is in places with tighter controls like DC and NY. So again, less guns don’t lead to less violence, because such proscriptions don’t reduce the cause of violence.

    The book of James however gives a very clear answer as to where violence comes from in the human heart:

    “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.”

    Every incident of violence can be traced to the selfish human desire for power and material possession. It’s not rocket science – that is its root cause. All other reasons for violence are excuses to gains those things.

    God damn it, Jack. This stuff isn’t that difficult. You make awful analogies. You should have pointed to Britain’s strict gun control where firearms have been more generally eliminated, not just eliminated from a certain group. Of course, that would have shown your point wrong.

    Michael, you don’t seem to get it – your point is wrong, there is no salvaging it – certainly not through a tantrum and defending your own bad comparisons.

    All things Richard Dawkins says are not the de facto atheist position. Besides that, his point still was not derived from atheism. A Christian could have made the very same point. Don’t be so dense.

    I will believe this when atheists stop parroting him. Occasionally an atheist does surprise me, for example when they observe the actual effect of Christian belief on African culture:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

    But there is a correlation between certain ideologies and violence. Religion is part of that correlation.

    No, ideologies, beliefs, and philosophies of all sorts mainly justify violence – violence itself comes from what I described above.

    Marxists may have a high proportion of atheists, but atheists are not be default Marxist. The reason – again and again and again – is that atheism does not lead to one particular path or another, just like deism.

    Marxism was an attempt to implement materialist philosophy, but failed terribly, as programs and policies based on bad ideas always do. These failures simply demonstrate that atheism serves no practical purpose, other than as a means to avoid belief in God. It certainly isn’t good for a society, and exists in the West parasitically, not because of its own robust intellectual foundations.

    So in a sense you are right, atheism doesn’t lead anywhere, except to a dead end.

  14. …but there isn’t nearly the violence here there is in places with tighter controls like DC and NY. So again, less guns don’t lead to less violence, because such proscriptions don’t reduce the cause of violence.

    Minnesota has neither the poverty (DC) nor the population (DC per mile, NY any way you cut it) of those places. There are confounding factors you haven’t considered.

    Michael, you don’t seem to get it – your point is wrong, there is no salvaging it – certainly not through a tantrum and defending your own bad comparisons.

    Add something substantial. Why is my point wrong? Specifically, why is DC a better example than Britain? Why is it better to compare ineffective gun control laws to general violence than to compare more sweeping, effective gun control laws to the same thing? I’ve argued my position. You have not argued yours.

    I will believe this when atheists stop parroting him. Occasionally an atheist does surprise me, for example when they observe the actual effect of Christian belief on African culture:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

    Many countries in Africa kill witches, have sex with virgins to rid themselves of HIV, and try and institute laws the deem homosexuality a crime punishable by death (or now life in prison). These are the products of faith.

    No, ideologies, beliefs, and philosophies of all sorts mainly justify violence – violence itself comes from what I described above.

    Declarations in scripture do not constitute actual arguments.

    Marxism was an attempt to implement materialist philosophy, but failed terribly, as programs and policies based on bad ideas always do. These failures simply demonstrate that atheism serves no practical purpose, other than as a means to avoid belief in God. It certainly isn’t good for a society, and exists in the West parasitically, not because of its own robust intellectual foundations.

    The failures of militant Marxism demonstrates nothing about atheism. What does demonstrate that atheism serves no practical purpose is that nothing can be derived from it anymore than anything can be derived from deism. It supplies no such system.

    What would make a more effective (and relevant) argument would be if you said Marxism demonstrates how a lack of religion serves no good purpose. Of course then I would just point out that it does serve a good purpose, but only if it isn’t replaced with another bad system (like in Denmark, Norway, etc).

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