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Here is something worth reading if you have some problems with Islam. http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSContents.jsp Navigate to 'findings and insights' Scroll down to 'catalogue of findings' Jump down to "A Catalogue of Findings", looking specifically at 'emancipative values'. The WVS is a huge study encompassing 60 countries in 6 waves from 1981-2014. To summarise: Emancipative values predict greater well-being, shifts towards democracy and equality. The presence of Islam weakens emancipative values. BUT, high education removes the effect between Islam and emancipative values. So while today at this point in time, Islam on average is causing the world a degree of strife and may weaken emancipative values, education is the answer. Promoting global education is one possible way of removing the negative effects of Islam. Discriminating against, and condemning Islam is easy to do. Fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger, and anger leads to condemnation. We all have the human propensity to take the easiest road out of a complex situation. Compassion and empathy wouldn't be so highly valued unless they were hard. Their difficulty requires us to look long and hard at ourselves, our preconceived beliefs about others, and to open up our imagination to other, more positive alternatives. Anti-gun lobbyists claim that guns are an American problem. But the right to own a firearm is a constitutional right. Mental health is the underlying cause of gun violence. Guns themselves are not directly to blame although the absence of guns would certainly end gun violence (perhaps increasing other forms of violence). Anti-islamists claim that Islam is a global problem. But it is a universal human right to practice a religion free from persecution. Poor education is the underlying cause of radical Islam. Islam itself is not directly to blame, although the absence of Islam would certainly end radical Islam (perhaps increasing other forms of radicalism). Hate is easy, compassion is hard. WWJD?
Regarding atheism: the rejection of theology. To clarify, I don't mean the atheists who follow it like a religion and try convert people. I mean the people who just don't make religion or spirituality and important part of their life. A user on here refers to them (respectfully) as 'materialists' - essentially, their life philosophy is restricted to what they experience, not on beliefs which (as of yet) have not been accepted by the scientific community. I hope I got that right. Otherwise said user can correct me . I bring this up because I've been given the impression that religious folks feel uneasy about atheism because of an opinion that 'materialism' isn't a sufficient basis on which a harmonious society can function on. eg. the process of natural selection, if applied to a society, is an excuse to reject compassion and support for the underprivileged or disadvantaged. Personally I'd disagree and say that society works as a function of culture, and worked more or less harmoniously before religion. but I'd also agree and say that whilst I try to be compassionate, I think I am less horrified or outraged by the worlds horrors due to a materialist view. "We have no higher purpose than to survive and reproduce, and everything that man has achieved is a byproduct of those base desires, given superior evolutionary characteristics. I guess what I'm debating is, religion can be portrayed as a reflection of culture (a system of learning over generations through transmission of information). So long as we have parents and society teaching their kids not to kill or steal, there is no need for religious doctrine telling us also. To refine that question further: Is subscription to positive religious doctrine necessary to keep a harmonious society, or is it just one of many useful ways of transmitting cultural information? If we consider religious stories where Gods have communicated with humans to share their wisdom for living (ie. 10 commandments) I feel that most of the commandments were things that human societies were practicing anyway to some degree, and that the deviations people committed from these rules or commandments is no greater today than it was pre-religion. The commandments are really just good rules for the survival and success for any group living in close companionship and would be (and are) selected for naturally in any sentient social species. Perhaps religion evolved culturally as an easier and surer way of transmitting and ensuring the practice of successful group behaviours.