September 14, 2010

"All religions are in their nature mild and benign, and united with principles of morality."

"They could not have made proselytes at first, by professing anything that was vicious, cruel, persecuting or immoral. Like every thing else, they had their beginning; and they proceeded by persuasion, exhortation, and example. How then is it that they lose their native mildness, and become morose and intolerant?"

28 comments:

El Pollo Real said...

Just look what is happening to Gaia worshipers--talk about people with an agenda.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Power corrupts. More power = more corruption.

It's the same whether its the church, the government, the do-gooders, or the environmentalists (per El Pollo).

Number one argument for liberatarianism, across the board and in all things.

- Lyssa

rhhardin said...

A religion can work like organized crime. The most thuggish rule.

TMink said...

I like this quote better: "Who, then, art thou, vain dust and ashes! by whatever name thou art called, whether a king, a bishop, a church or a state, a parliament or any thing else, that obtrudest thine insignificance between the soul of man and his Maker? Mind thine own concerns."

Trey

Skyler said...

With all due respect to Thomas Paine, he's full of baloney. There is no evidence that all religions are peaceful, and this is especially not true of Islam.

John Lynch said...

This is making the assumption that people are only attracted to nice, happy religions.

Uh, what about Calvinism?

The assumption is wrong. A lot of people want a religion that provides a moral view of the world, and the world isn't always a nice place.

phx said...

I disagree with the premise. Religions divide people - us and them. A lot of things do that too, but religion has the added "WE are allied with God, those guys aren't" and sooner or later that sanctions all sorts of brutality.

Fred4Pres said...

They say girls look for their fathers in prospective mates (boys look for their mothers).

Do prospective members look for father or mother figures in a prospective faith?

phx said...

If the last words of the Bible were "Of courses, we might be wrong," I think we'd see a lot more of the positive influence of Xianity. It's the lack of humbling doubt that I think is dangerous. Same with all religions.

Joe said...

(the Crypto Jew)
(The Crypto Jew)
Historically illiterate. Islam did NOT start as nice...it started as raiding parties against the Unbeliever, and culminated in a great Jihad that encompassed much of the Mediterranean Basin. It was NEVER meek or mild....

traditionalguy said...

Any religion of works and pride will always seek to murder representatives of a committed belief in grace and love. The two cannot co-exist. Loving people is a radical and intrusive act. Independent pride and free will is a strong and useful motivator of human aggression. Meekness and sacrificial good returned for evil is an unfair usage according to The Rules of Religion. That's why Christians rely on the resurrection of the dead.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

If the last words of the Bible were "Of courses, we might be wrong," I think we'd see a lot more of the positive influence of Xianity. It's the lack of humbling doubt that I think is dangerous. Same with all religions.


Dood/doodette they're NOT the Ten SUGGESTONS. Jesu Christi the whole point of a religion is that it reveals THE TRUTH, not some agnostic crap! Either Mohamet was the Prophet of Allah or he wasn't. If he wasn't why be Muslim? Either YWH has a Covenant with His Chosen People or He doesn't...if He doesn't why pass up all the tasty pork products? Either Jesus was the Son of Man or He wasn't? If he wasn't why put up with all the “meek” and turning the other cheek”?

Fen said...

Historically illiterate. Islam did NOT start as nice...it started as raiding parties against the Unbeliever, and culminated in a great Jihad that encompassed much of the Mediterranean Basin.

Exactly. Judaism also has a very militant early history.

phx said...

Dood/doodette they're NOT the Ten SUGGESTONS. Jesu Christi the whole point of a religion is that it reveals THE TRUTH, not some agnostic crap! Either Mohamet was the Prophet of Allah or he wasn't. If he wasn't why be Muslim? Either YWH has a Covenant with His Chosen People or He doesn't...if He doesn't why pass up all the tasty pork products? Either Jesus was the Son of Man or He wasn't? If he wasn't why put up with all the “meek” and turning the other cheek”?

I think a lot of believers have doubt, and they learn how to make their faith and doubt coexist, and I trust those people more when wisdom and judgment are called for. But yup, many also have your sense of certainty, and that was my point that that's what scares the hell out of me!
In my tradition we adhere to Cromwell's good advice "I beseech you, by the bowels of Christ, admit that you may possibly be mistaken."

Lucien said...

Paine's argument seems strange to us, perhaps, because it reflects an oder style of reasoning from first principles, rather than empiricism. He obviously took no pains to study the history of religions broadly, or even the Abrahamic religions specifically, before making this argument.

We are now so used to the scientific method and experimental approach that a more eighteenth century style of thought just seems a little weird.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
I think a lot of believers have doubt, and they learn how to make their faith and doubt coexist, and I trust those people more when wisdom and judgment are called for. But yup, many also have your sense of certainty, and that was my point that that's what scares the hell out of me!
In my tradition we adhere to Cromwell's good advice "I beseech you, by the bowels of Christ, admit that you may possibly be mistaken."
.


Dood/doodette you are one sad puppy...failing to grasp the FUNDAMENTAL of a religion. It is either a Revealed Truth or it is not...any religion that says, “OK we might be wrong is one that is for bong-hitting squishes.” And you miss the point of religious doubt...Dood/Doodette Freak'n Mother Teresa doubted the existence of Ywh! FREAK'N Mother Teresa!!!! We all have “doubts” and we may have “disputes” about the course of our faith(s)...the POINT of Faith is that it carries you thru your doubts! You might want to hook up with a Rabbi or a Jesuit, or at least read their commentaries. Because right now you are just totally CLUELESS about what “faith” is.

phx said...

@Joe
Thank you again so much for helping to illustrate my points.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
You're welcome PHX. You've illustrated the failures of your “belief” system adequately, shallow and ill-informed...a PoV based on some misconceptions about the religious and the irreligious and not capable of getting past these prejudices.

You complain of belief and wish folks could be more open to doubt...so you mean that Jesus ought to have knuckled under to the Sanhedrin and Pilot? Or that Moses and Aaron ought to have compromised with Pharaoh for their people's freedom? Or that the 19th Century Abolitionists, who were deeply religious, ought to have doubted their correctness and settled for a partial Emancipation? Or that little fellow at Tienanmen Square who defeated, temporarily, a column of tanks, he ought to have decided, “Hey I might be wrong, the Communists might be right. I think I'll just stand here and watch the tanks roll on by?” That's all faith, too...and without it, a whole lot, in fact, 90% of the GOOD in the world doesn't get done.

Clyde said...

There's a reason that the official iconography of Islam includes a sword. Think about it.

LarsPorsena said...

".."I beseech you, by the bowels of Christ, admit that you may possibly be mistaken..."

What was never in doubt for Cromwell was that he was going to grind the Scots into a paste.

Cromwell wanted his opponents to reflect on their errors; he had no doubts of his own.

jayne_cobb said...

It just once again proves that it is easier to campaign than it is to govern.

Smilin' Jack said...

"All religions are in their nature mild and benign....They could not have made proselytes at first, by professing anything that was vicious, cruel, persecuting or immoral.

Hee...yeah, Mohammad converted people to Islam by going door to door passing out Koran tracts.

craig said...

Paine was a good polemicist, but not a good thinker.

1. On the nature of religion's mildness, he infers from the particular (18th-century Western Christianity) to the general (all religions) without any basic knowledge of history.

2. On toleration, he presumes that all religions have an equal claim on the truth. That is not toleration but indifference. He names God as benevolently an indifferent to the manner in which He is worshipped, but he (Paine) does not reveal how he knows this.

Genuine toleration presumes that truth (a) exists and (b) is discernable over time. Respect for conscience dictates that those who have attained the truth should tolerate the struggles of those who have yet to attain it. But we never speak of error tolerating truth, only the other way around. So to reject tolerance is to be indifferent in principle to truth.

2. Like any other British subject of his time (or ours) he parrots the Elizabethan-era black legends of anti-Catholicism. In this lingering pseudo-history, life was nasty, brutish, and short from the moment Rome fell until the day Henry got his divorce. The glorious ruins of abbeys and cathedrals, universities and hospitals, guild-halls and mills, somehow are not sufficient to serve as evidence that Europe ever flourished during the so-called "Dark" Ages. That the mosques of the Caliphate were often Christian churches whose mosaics and icons had been plastered over or chiseled off, is not an obstacle to those desiring to extol the superiority of the exotic Other. Many of those Brits whose ancestors proclaimed "Better the Turk than the Pope" will see their ancestors' wishes answered soon.

The Crack Emcee said...

God is omnipotent = We will kill you.

Belkys said...

Because the weak are from Venus , the strong from Mars. On Paradise and Power

A.W. said...

what a bunch of crap in that quote. yeah, all budding religions are mild. you know, like David koresh. *rolls eyes*

anyone who says that is remarkably ignorant of all the different religions that have existed throughout history. i can show you specific examples of religions that led to massive amounts of bloodshed, right from the beginning.

Freeman Hunt said...

"All religions are in their nature mild and benign, and united with principles of morality."

Here he was, of course, incorrect.

Methadras said...

Islam's beginnings where never mild nor tolerant.