"believing in god isn't what makes theists bad" - a rebuttal

I agree that believing in God is not what made the NJ rabbis launder money, or makes a Catholic priest rape an alter boy. But it is what makes a Jehovah's Witness deny a life-saving blood transfusion for their kids. It is what makes some uneducated people decide to homeschool their kids, and doom them to a life of minimum wage ignorance. It is what makes people treat their fellow man intolerantly, and demand that followers of other faiths (or no faith) or people who are gay or of a minority ethnic group or whatever, should be treated as "less than" the dominant religious group. It is what led Crusaders and Jihadists, and what had the Catholics and Protestants (both groups of Christians themselves!) to kill each other for 700 years in Ireland. It is what led David Koresh and the Branch Davidians to hold a standoff with US federal agents.

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Comment by Angie Jackson on July 26, 2009 at 1:56pm
Yeah, a really excellent book on the FLDS experience is "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop. That woman is one of my heros. She escaped with all 8 of her children - including a 4-year old son on oxygen and feeding tubes - and won custody of them. She is the first woman to EVER leave with all her kids. Usually the women either have to leave some or all of their children behind, or they return because they need to protect their children as best they can from within the cult. Yeah, I'll probably do a big blog post about them some time in august.
Comment by Joey on July 26, 2009 at 2:25am
Yeah, I didn't mean to imply being a priest is what made them a pedophile. Just that it helped them to justify acting on it.
I'd never heard that about the JWs before. That's pretty insane.
Comment by Jason Spicer on July 26, 2009 at 1:37am
I don't think religion causes pederasty, theft, murder, etc, but it certainaly provides a fair amount of cover for those so inclined. Religious criminals "answer to a higher power", which is another way of saying they answer to no one. It gives them wide latitude, because they can just go get forgiven whenever they "sin". Religion doesn't require criminal or immoral behavior, but it sure excuses the hell out of it.
Comment by Angie Jackson on July 26, 2009 at 12:35am
@Nate and Joey - I don't know that I actually believe being a priest causes on to become a pedophile, rather I think it is more likely that pedophiles seek out access to children (such as youth sports coaches, priests, school teachers, youth pastors, etc.) Jehovah's Witnesses have a really f*ed up loophole that allows rampant pedophilia among the lay people, so there molesters tend not to be actually leaders.
Comment by Joey on July 25, 2009 at 8:40pm
Good rebuttal, Angie.
To add to what Nate said, it also helps by demonizing sex of any kind.
It probably didn't make the priests pedophiles, but it could've easily convinced them to act on it. They believe all sex outside marriage is sinful, no matter what kind. I might be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure all sin is supposed to be equal. (Well, other than being a heretic or a heathen.) It certainly put them in the position to do it on the scale it was done.
Which probably counts as ironic, considering child molestation was the supposed reasoning behind the various "satanic panics".
Comment by Nate on July 25, 2009 at 7:18pm
Great presentation of your thoughts, Angie. I do you think that you could extrapolate the Catholic priests' abuse to find its origin in belief in God. If they weren't supposed represententatives of God, they'd not enjoy a position of unquestionable authority that lends itself to the victimization of children placed under their tutelage.
Comment by K. Walker on July 25, 2009 at 7:10pm
You bet God didn't have anything to do with money laundering or rape, that was criminal activity. God was only used to help cover up these unscrupulous activities and fortunately, doing so did not work out too well.
Comment by Jim C. on July 25, 2009 at 7:06pm
Believing in god(s) shows a willingness to ignore the evidence of one's senses and logic in order to follow a pie-in-the-sky idea as absolute truth. This mindset is dangerous particularly if that belief is used by others to guide the believers to perform atrocious acts in the name of God.

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