This question came up recently in a discussion with a Christian friend.  That friend felt that Christianity was superior to Islam because of the treatment reserved to women by Islam (we didn’t discuss the recent edict by the Vatican treating the ordination of women and pedophilia with seemingly the same severity).


As an atheist, I don’t much like any religion, but the question of whether one is better than another is interesting.  The first step is to decide what constitutes a good religion.


For this friend as well for many of those who claim that Christianity is better than Islam, the reasons they give are related to liberal values: better treatment of women, better treatment of homosexuals, less racism, less anti-Semitism, less indoctrination of children, better separation of religion and state, more tolerance of other religions, less insistence on mindless rituals, more freedom to question, better record on human rights, etc.


What’s interesting however is that few if any of these liberal values are intrinsic to either Christianity or Islam, or for that matter, Judaism.  These values were adopted by liberal wings of these religions against the will of the Orthodox / fundamentalist wishes and, more importantly, against the words of the scriptures they claim to believe in.  It just so happens that Christians and Jews seem to have larger numbers of liberals among their ranks than do Muslims.


This comes down to saying that a better religion is a religion whose adherents are better able to ignore the religion’s scriptures.  In other words, a better religion is a religion that is less religious.


My advice to my friends who feel this way is to take the next logical step and go for something even better: no religion at all.  According to their own interpretation of a good religion, the lack of religion is the best “religion” possible.

Tags: christianity, fundamentalist, islam, judaism, liberal, orthodox, scriptures

Views: 127

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Yeah I wouldn't know what to say. I assume the best way to do it would be to create a new one that would be tolerant to all based on a system of morals we are all used too.


Just need someone to claim divine inspiration of the newest "one true god" lol. Maybe built with a little less contradiction XD lol.
I think Raelians have one up over Scientologists. They are both creepy cults but The Raelians have got aliens just like .... oh wait...
I think I agree with this: "This comes down to saying that a better religion is a religion whose adherents are better able to ignore the religion’s scriptures. In other words, a better religion is a religion that is less religious." There is more to say, though. First of all, you can't judge the contemporary state of a religion or a people claiming a religion based simply on the barbarities of centuries or millenia-old sacred texts reflecting a sociopolitical organization that no longer exists, and disregarding other political realities, per the childishness of Sam Harris' writings. Secondly, it's important to view historically how religions morph as they do, and what happens in the process of liberalization, as well as the gap between the stated ideology of the religion and the type of people who practice it.

For example, it is commonly believed in western Christian civilization that Christianity is superior to Judaism because it is a religion of forgiveness rather than vengeance. But not only is this historically false, but what is ignored is the paranoia, hypocrisy and viciousness that lies in the very heart of Christianity, which may in fact constitute a step backward rather than forward. Read THE MIND OG THE BIBLE-BELIEVER by Edmund G. Cohen as an example of what I mean.
All religions are false from a literal point of view, i.e. as propositions about the nature of things. But if one wants to know what makes them tick as ideologies, and not remain at the infantile historical level of Harris or Dawkins, further study is needed, which means a grounding in something more than evolutionary biology or cognitive science.
The way Islam is practiced in the Muslim theocracies today seems very reminiscent of how Christianity was practiced in Europe 600 years ago. Christianity today is still prone to uncivilized practices in some places, like parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Draconian practices, such as witch burnings, female genital mutilation, and the execution of homosexuals, can still be found in some of these Christian cultures.
To a Muslim Islam is superior to every other religion.

To a Christian Christianity is superior to every other religion.

To a Jew Judaism is superior to every other religion.

To a Hindu Hinduism is superior to every other religion.

I, as an atheist, have a lot of respect for eastern religions but 0 respects for the Judeo/Christian/Islamic faiths.
If you had to deal with Hinduism, you'd think differently.
I think that the main reason that we in the West criticize Jewish-based religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) more than others is simply because we know them best. I think that if we were immersed in other religions, we would dislike them just as much. Each religion starts from an absurd concept and gets worse from there.
Yes...Westerners have an idealized picture of Hinduism and Buddhism. I know that there are quite a lot of Hindu fundamentalists in India, and a lot of quackery and psuedoscience gurus. Buddhism, they have celibate monks...why don't people think the same thing might be happening in Buddhism as Catholicism? Also Buddhism has homophobia, and I think the monks can only be male.

I still do like Hinduism for its psychadelic drawings, though...
Buddhism has homophobia, and I think the monks can only be male.

Buddhism comes in many flavors and tolerance to homosexuality varies a lot with time and place. Generally, Buddhism is not as adverse to homosexuality as it is to sexual activity (of any kind.)

And there are Buddhist nuns.
What people don't realize about Buddhism is that the Buddhist separatists of Sri Lanka actually developed and perfected the art of modern suicide bombing. We don't hear about it much because, well, who cares about Sri Lanka anyways?
Judaism has these great little fried potato and onion cakes.

They get bonus points for those.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service