IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 27th August 2007, 02:30 PM   #1
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Sam Harris; Religion the current explicit cause of millions of war dead

This is from Sam Harris

Quote:
Incompatible religious doctrines have bal- kanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of bloodshed. indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs. muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. catholic croatians), Ethiopia and eritrea (muslims vs. christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil hindus), indonesia (muslims vs. Timorese christians), iran and iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni muslims), and the caucasus
(Orthodox russians vs. chechen muslims; muslim Azerbaijanis vs. catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades.
http://www.samharris.org/media/killing-the-buddha.pdf

What stood out was the example of Northern Ireland - to portray the conflict as having been explicitly about religion (Protestant vs Catholic) seems hugely disingenuous. It was a conflict about land - a conflict bourne of nationalism, the legacy of Britain's colonial past. To seek to represent it as a religious conflict is really to misunderstand (or knowingly misrepresent) the conflict entirely. Thus I wondered what about the other examples on the list - how much can these other conflicts be understood in terms of religion over and above nationalism and land? I certainly accept that religion may be an in-group/out group exacerbator, but how many conflicts on the list are the explicit result of religion? I don't know the answer, so would be interested in the discussion
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 27th August 2007 at 02:34 PM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 02:58 PM   #2
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
A starter

Chechen conflict; nationalism, a desire for independence.

israel/palestine; born of jewish zionism and arab nationalism - an issue of land exacerbated by religion. Could one say the conflict was caused by religion? Should one regard the Jews as a racial group or as a religious group?

Serbia, croatia, albania; long standing ethnic, religious, geopolitical divisions, trigered by the collapse of communism and nationalism

Eritrea, etheopia; - long standing hostilites, eritrean struggle for independence, land ownership disputes

Tamil tigers, sri lanka; - post colonial divisions, fight for indepence
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 04:39 PM   #3
mijopaalmc
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 7,172
Don't most of those conflict divide neatly along religious lines?

I realize that the point you are trying to make is much more subtle than the point that most people will think you are trying to make (cue the cries of "religious apologist" ).

Do you at least acknowledge that religion is a cause, or aggravating circumstance, among many of these conflicts?
mijopaalmc is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 05:17 PM   #4
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
Don't most of those conflict divide neatly along religious lines?

I realize that the point you are trying to make is much more subtle than the point that most people will think you are trying to make (cue the cries of "religious apologist" ).
What do you mean "divide neatly"? That people living in (perceived) different geographical locations, and with different cultural backgrounds do not always share the same religious belief? If one says that it is an explicit cause over and above nationalism and concerns of land, then it is not sufficient to simply say, "they are different religions therefore religion is the primary explicit cause" any more than you could notice a culturally different fashion between different conflicting regions and conclude "because they wear different clothes, fashion is the primary explicit cause."

Quote:
Do you at least acknowledge that religion is a cause, or aggravating circumstance, among many of these conflicts
I already said that in the OP that it may well be an exacebator in some (all) of these conflicts to some extent - but was religion a cause of the northern ireland troubles? Was it a cause of the Chechen conflict? And more to the point was it an explicit cause? Harris makes the claim for religion's responsibility in these conflicts for millions of deaths. Given that most (all) seem to be about land and nationalism this seems rather hyperbolic.
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 27th August 2007 at 05:20 PM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 05:51 PM   #5
BrianSI
A Rebarbative Cyst
 
BrianSI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,397
I've often wondered this same thing. Is it the religion that causes the conflict, or simply justifies it (after the winner "wins")?

I understand the case of the terrorists is quite different than the other examples. But isn't there a more fundamental human desire to dominate? And then justify it based on being "chosen" (afterward). Which comes first?


(I don't presume to know at this point, especially in a general sense, but I would certainly caution myself as an atheist from jumping to the conclusion that religion is the cause.)
__________________
In God we trust. Everyone else must bring data.

"There's nothing wrong with science ... between air conditioning and the pope, I'll take air conditioning."
-- Woody Allen in Deconstructing Harry
BrianSI is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 06:17 PM   #6
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by BrianSI View Post
I've often wondered this same thing. Is it the religion that causes the conflict, or simply justifies it (after the winner "wins")?

I understand the case of the terrorists is quite different than the other examples. But isn't there a more fundamental human desire to dominate? And then justify it based on being "chosen" (afterward). Which comes first?
I agree with regards to al-queda that religion plays a central role - though it is interesting to examine what that role is - because there is no strong nationalist bond itself to unite disparate proponents, it creates what is in effect that nationalist bond - the concept of ummah. Once this concept is strongly in place, then we see largely the same nationalist motivations as in other conflicts - persecution of the ummah citizens, ummah nationalism, ummah independence - where the ummah represents all muslims and thus encompasses all injustices real or imagined.

There was a real indepth interview with a former British jihadi in the guardian (and discussed on jref...) a while back where he explains his reasons for choosing to become a terrorist - they were all to be understood through ummah nationalism - the foreign policy in iraq, palestine, Guantanamo - all real or perceived injustices against his "nation." Here radical Islam created the ummah mindset, and provided the moral justification, so certainly played an important role - but the appeal it made was to this fundamental nationalist mindset which (if i were given to rhetorical flourishes ) I think could be described as the true living spring of violence which exists today, as it has done at any time in the past.
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 27th August 2007 at 06:28 PM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 06:56 PM   #7
TX50
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,951
Red Dwarf, Series I Episode 4 "Waiting For God"

LISTER: This is terrible. Holy wars. Killing. They're just using
religion as an excuse to be really, really crappy to each other.
TOASTER: So, what else is new?
TX50 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 06:59 PM   #8
Malachi151
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,404
Regardless of anything, religion certainly becomes the "team jersey" that keeps the conflict alive and perpetuates the divisions.

I think that the various conflicts are different and are rooted in religion to different degrees.

The Irish conflict certainly isn't rooted in religion, its rooted in imperialism and subjugation, with the invading Brits having been Protestants and the defending Irish having been Catholics.

Then lots of laws were passed in regard to religion, which then made religion an issue, such as shutting down Catholic churches, etc., taking power away from the Catholic churches and transferring it to the British government, etc., which just exacerbated things, but obviously this dispute didn't originate because of theological differences, nor did it continue due to theological differences, but rather because "your team" screwed "my team", so now "my team" is going to get you back.

Protestant and Catholic became just another form of shirts and skins in this case.

Nevertheless, it is likely that the religious institutions and religious distinctions played a role in stoking the fires and keeping them going longer and hotter.
__________________
www.rationalrevolution.net

"The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us." - Teddy Roosevelt
Malachi151 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 07:21 PM   #9
Ranillon
Thinker
 
Ranillon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 138
Part of the problem when it comes to defining where religion ends and Nationalism/Groupism begins is that for most of history (including today) they tend to be the same thing. If you belonged to group X it was expected that you practiced religion Y. Not doing so was often seen as akin to treason -- or, at least, that you weren't a loyal citizen. For instance, the reason that early Imperial Rome mistrusted Christians wasn't because they were blasphemers, but because the Romans considered showing piety to the state gods a necessary confirmation of your loyalty to the state.

Ultimately, it seems to me that the determining characteristic was your nation/group. Religion was just one (very important) way of distinguishing one group from another. Sure, it can be the direct cause of conflict (at least the stated direct cause), but I think ultimately it is group divisions or just plain old greed that has typically led to wars. For instance, when the typical medieval King attacked his neighbor his motivation was primarily gaining land, money, and power, not religious zeal.

So, I think Sam Harris' argument is more than a little disingenuous. It would be self-statisfying to blame our problems on religion, but the truth is far more complicated.
Ranillon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 08:11 PM   #10
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
good replies

The current Shiite/Sunni conflict in Iraq which is mentioned by Harris, is the one I have most difficulty placing with regards to the role of religion in the hostilities. A number of Iraqi commentators have remarked that whilst there was great societial division under Saddam, there was no great religious hostilities between the two groups - and yet now there are very clear Sunni/Shiia divisions, but is this religiously motivated, or just regionalism? Certainly it's easy enough to divide into the Shiia South, and Sunni triangle, but in Baghdad, can the conflict be understood in terms beyond religious identity?
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 08:23 PM   #11
Malachi151
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,404
One thing about the Sunni/Shiite thing is that it isn't "just regionalism", because regions that were largely intermixed under Saddam are now segregating and dividing.

However, there is the issue of Saddam favoring the Sunni during his time in power and cracking down on the Shiites, for which the Shiites now seek revenge.
__________________
www.rationalrevolution.net

"The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us." - Teddy Roosevelt
Malachi151 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th August 2007, 10:24 PM   #12
Puppycow
Penultimate Amazing
 
Puppycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 26,923
On the bright side, all those deaths by religion have reduced the Rate of Death by Other Causes by an equal amount.

In the long run, we're all dead anyway.
__________________
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Puppycow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 07:05 AM   #13
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 31,159
As a cynic, I believe that religion is central to most of these, in the sense that it is a useful tool by the power hungry on both sides to use. However, if it weren't there, there would be a different reason used. Those who seek power on both sides always find something to stir up the local populace, and directing their hatred against an external enemy is very effective, unfortunately, for gaining power.

Race has been used in many cases, though not nearly as many as religion. In modern, "civilized" society, it's considered gauche to use race or religion, at least directly, when seeking power. Class warfare is the preferred method. This has overlapped with race/religion in the past (e.g. the evil Jewish businessman), to be replaced with the evil generic businessman.

Those are the Big 3, so to speak, though drug users, sexual perverts (said lovingly), and similar things are also frequently used.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
Beerina is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 07:16 AM   #14
IllegalArgument
Graduate Poster
 
IllegalArgument's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,895
I really liked Harris when I first read him.

After one long debate with Scott Atran, I can see that Harris just relies on his opinion and doesn't research many of the most incidary statements.

See this long debate on Edge:
http://www.edge.org/discourse/bb.html

Atran has for instance done research on sucide bombers, where as Harris appears to have not.
__________________
Ann Coulter is the Paris Hilton of politics.

Sam Harris is the Ann Coulter of atheists.

When you get to be my age you realize the wannabecoolself wins when it stops trying to hide the geekself. -- Garrette
IllegalArgument is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 10:34 AM   #15
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by IllegalArgument View Post
I really liked Harris when I first read him.

After one long debate with Scott Atran, I can see that Harris just relies on his opinion and doesn't research many of the most incidary statements.

See this long debate on Edge:
http://www.edge.org/discourse/bb.html

Atran has for instance done research on sucide bombers, where as Harris appears to have not.
an excellent link - thanks.

I do find it difficult to have much time for Harris - it is clear he is very much out of his depth in expertise and displays little regard for intellectual rigour in his debate with Atran - and yet he blusters on regardless, as if rhetoric can trump reasoned debate - (which unfortunately it sometimes can).
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 28th August 2007 at 11:04 AM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 10:53 AM   #16
dudalb
Penultimate Amazing
 
dudalb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 54,815
I am a total skeptic on religon in general,but am also skeptical of Harris's blaming almost all the evil in the world on Religon.
dudalb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 10:55 AM   #17
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,768
Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
good replies

The current Shiite/Sunni conflict in Iraq which is mentioned by Harris, is the one I have most difficulty placing with regards to the role of religion in the hostilities. A number of Iraqi commentators have remarked that whilst there was great societial division under Saddam, there was no great religious hostilities between the two groups - and yet now there are very clear Sunni/Shiia divisions, but is this religiously motivated, or just regionalism? Certainly it's easy enough to divide into the Shiia South, and Sunni triangle, but in Baghdad, can the conflict be understood in terms beyond religious identity?
Tribalism? Tribalism that coincides with religious divides?
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:10 AM   #18
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Tribalism? Tribalism that coincides with religious divides?
yes, how pervasive was tribal identity under Saddam? It's often reported that the Sunni minority had the positions of power - was this a religious identity or a tribal identity and consequent religion? That is to say, were I a Shiite who converted to the Sunni faith, would i enjoy the same privilege, or if i as a shiite brought my son up as a sunni would that positively effect his life chances? If neither of these did have societal effect, then it would be primarily perhaps a tribal/ancestoral divide coinciding with shared religious belief.
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:12 AM   #19
IllegalArgument
Graduate Poster
 
IllegalArgument's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,895
Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I am a total skeptic on religon in general,but am also skeptical of Harris's blaming almost all the evil in the world on Religon.
At this point, I will suggest a better way of describing systems of government which I think we can agree on as bad.

Hierarchies are not inherently bad, authoritarian hierarchies on the other hand are bad.

An authoritarian hierarchy cannot be questioned, nor it's leaders replaced without the destruction of the structure.

Communist governments amply demostrated dogmatism as bad as any of the worst religiously based governments.

Historically, authoritarian groups used religion as the building blocks, so it understandable why many people would associate the two.

A nice book on the subject, primary about cults and gurus, particularly eastern religion based, but I think it applies.

Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power
http://www.amazon.com/Guru-Papers-Ma...8324508&sr=8-1
__________________
Ann Coulter is the Paris Hilton of politics.

Sam Harris is the Ann Coulter of atheists.

When you get to be my age you realize the wannabecoolself wins when it stops trying to hide the geekself. -- Garrette
IllegalArgument is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:16 AM   #20
EeneyMinnieMoe
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,221
I don't agree Sam Harris's blaming religion for all war but the larger point he's making- that religion is often the cause of violence- goes without saying.

Looking over these laundry lists of religious wars, you have to think: what's the matter with these people? Aren't there enough completely secular reasons for war?! Not for some people, evidently. All of the violence in the world over land, wealth and power just aren't enough for them. Why can't we all just get along?

I'm skeptical about his characterizing Chechnya as a religious conflict between Muslims and Christians because Russia's government is totally secular and the population of the former USSR isn't what you'd call Christian.
EeneyMinnieMoe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:37 AM   #21
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
I don't agree Sam Harris's blaming religion for all war but the larger point he's making- that religion is often the cause of violence- goes without saying.

.
If he was able to refrain from the hyperbole and the angry rheotoric then there is certainly a case to be made for religion exacerbating violent situations in some cases - it can provide a strong in group/out group split, which is generally a necessary condition for group violence. It can also provide "moral justification" for acts which might otherwise be less acceptable amongst that in group. It should also be noted in this line of argument that religion can serve as a dampener for violent situations - it really depends upon the religion, the religiousity and the group leaders. Unfortunately rather than making this point, he instead points to religion as the explicit cause of millions of deaths in the conflicts he lists....perhaps he has decided that a reasoned approach earns you less airtime and less $$.

Quote:
Looking over these laundry lists of religious wars, you have to think: what's the matter with these people? Aren't there enough completely secular reasons for war?! Not for some people, evidently. All of the violence in the world over land, wealth and power just aren't enough for them. Why can't we all just get along?
which in the list would you actually characterise as a religious conflict? They all seem (at least from preliminary research) to be primarily about what many other wars are about - land and nationalism. I'm struggling to think of any contemporary struggle* that wasn't primarily about land, nationalism, wealth or power.

*Islamic terrorism perhaps a special case, as mentioned earlier...
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 28th August 2007 at 12:30 PM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:48 AM   #22
The Atheist
The Grammar Tyrant
 
The Atheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 31,717
Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
Unfortunately rather than making this point, he instead points to religion as the explicit cause of millions of deaths in the conflicts he lists....perhaps he has decided that a reasoned approach earns you less airtime and less $$.
Bingo!

I certainly had little [read; less than none] time for a torture apologist, but Sam Harris esq. is now going to either have his "atheist" label removed, or I may have to change mine - he's a first-class idiot.

This must surely be a case of desperate publicity-seeking because blaming all of those issues explicitly on religion is at the naivety level of a 9/11 CTist.

Originally Posted by some torture-apologist, scandalmongering twat
The difference between happiness and suffering will be our paramount concern.
The Atheist is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:55 AM   #23
The Atheist
The Grammar Tyrant
 
The Atheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 31,717
Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
I don't agree Sam Harris's blaming religion for all war but the larger point he's making- that religion is often the cause of violence- goes without saying.
I'm not sure how many conflicts could have religion pointed to as the cause of the hostilities. As Andy is saying, religion has certainly fanned plenty of flames and provides unity, but I think you'll find that the conflicts started before the religion became involved - in most of those cases.

Just of the ones I do know about, the Timor & Tamil situations, I'd be very confident that religion played a miniscule - if any - part in the initiation of the violence. I don't even agree that religion is playing a major part in the conflicts even now.
The Atheist is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 11:57 AM   #24
This Guy
Master Poster
 
This Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,140
Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
I don't agree Sam Harris's blaming religion for all war but the larger point he's making- that religion is often the cause of violence- goes without saying.

Looking over these laundry lists of religious wars, you have to think: what's the matter with these people? Aren't there enough completely secular reasons for war?! Not for some people, evidently. All of the violence in the world over land, wealth and power just aren't enough for them. Why can't we all just get along?

I'm skeptical about his characterizing Chechnya as a religious conflict between Muslims and Christians because Russia's government is totally secular and the population of the former USSR isn't what you'd call Christian.
Actually, the people are about 70-75% Russian Orthodox (Link, Link, Link)

So there might be some grounds for calling it a religious issue. I don't know.

I'm inclined to believe that most wars are about land and control. Certainly Nationalism falls in that category (in my mind anyway)

Going back to the OP, You raise a good question Andy. And as at least one other person has posted, I'm certainly not going to be blaming current wars on religion, without doing some more research.

Luckily, I haven't used that argument, so no crow to eat there

It is important, IMHO, that those of us that call ourselves atheist not be guilty of the same lack of facts/false facts in our arguments, that we so often claim the religious are guilty of.

Once again the Forum has broadened my understanding, and inspired me to learn more.

I love this place.
__________________
I'm lost. I've gone to find me. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait!
This Guy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 12:02 PM   #25
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,768
Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
yes, how pervasive was tribal identity under Saddam?
In my experience immediately after the ouster of Saddam, it was very pervasive, though in Baghdad it was muted as were religious practices.


Originally Posted by andyandy
It's often reported that the Sunni minority had the positions of power - was this a religious identity or a tribal identity and consequent religion?
Tribal. Saddam was not religious, though he had the builders of some of his palatial monstrosities incorporate some sops for the very religious.


Originally Posted by andyandy
That is to say, were I a Shiite who converted to the Sunni faith, would i enjoy the same privilege, or if i as a shiite brought my son up as a sunni would that positively effect his life chances? If neither of these did have societal effect, then it would be primarily perhaps a tribal/ancestoral divide coinciding with shared religious belief.
My informed but still layman's opinion is that tribalism trumps it all, or did under Saddam.

My layman's extension is that with the removal of the strongman to keep a lid on it, the religious sects are now being used the way the tribal lines would be used if they encompassed enough people, i.e., Sunni and Shiite are just tribes write large; the religioun is secondary.

But I don't think it's equal. The Sunni are a bit more secular than the Shiite in their respective tribalism, which--if I am correct in this assessment--is interesting because it is the Shiites who have shown the most restraint.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 02:41 PM   #26
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
In my experience immediately after the ouster of Saddam, it was very pervasive, though in Baghdad it was muted as were religious practices.


Tribal. Saddam was not religious, though he had the builders of some of his palatial monstrosities incorporate some sops for the very religious.


My informed but still layman's opinion is that tribalism trumps it all, or did under Saddam.

My layman's extension is that with the removal of the strongman to keep a lid on it, the religious sects are now being used the way the tribal lines would be used if they encompassed enough people, i.e., Sunni and Shiite are just tribes write large; the religioun is secondary.

But I don't think it's equal. The Sunni are a bit more secular than the Shiite in their respective tribalism, which--if I am correct in this assessment--is interesting because it is the Shiites who have shown the most restraint.
Thanks for your insight. For all the reports on Iraq, there seems little depth on the actual antagnonism between the disparate iraqi groups - instead broad religious labels seem to be thought sufficient....from wiki, labeling the different insurgent groups...

Quote:
Shi'a militias, including the southern, Iran-linked Badr Organization, the Mahdi Army, and the central-Iraq followers of Muqtada al-Sadr

Ba'athists, the armed supporters of Saddam Hussein's former regime, e.g. army or intelligence officers;

Nationalists, mostly Sunni Muslims, who fight for Iraqi self-determination;

anti-Shi'a Sunni Muslims who fight to regain the prestige they held under the previous regime (the three preceding categories are often indistinguishable in practice);

Iraqi Sunni Islamists, the indigenous armed followers of the Salafi movement, as well as any remnants of the Kurdish Ansar al-Islam;

Foreign Islamist volunteers, including those often linked to al Qaeda and largely driven by the Sunni Wahhabi doctrine (the two preceding categories are often lumped as "Jihadists");

Various socialist revolutionaries (such as the Iraqi Armed Revolutionary Resistance);

Criminal insurgents who are fighting simply for money;

and
Nonviolent resistance groups and political parties (not part of the armed insurgency).
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 28th August 2007 at 02:49 PM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 02:53 PM   #27
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Quote:
Larger Groups

The formation of the Mujahidin Shura Council , announced on Jan. 21, was a sign of the once-diffuse insurgency's consolidation around the leadership of a few large, powerful groups. It brought together the foreign-backed network of al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and several smaller, Iraqi-led groups. The council's head was said to be an Iraqi, a move made to counter the image of al-Qaeda as dominated by Arabs from elsewhere in the region. This appointment may be little more than a public relations move. The group's tactics include attacks carried out with bombs, small arms and mortar against Iraqi and American soldiers, as well as, increasingly, Iraqi civilians, most of them Shiites. Two of its "brigades," or affiliates, (the bin Malik and the Al-Ansar) are devoted solely to suicide attacks. Another, the Omar Brigade, is said to target only members of the Badr organization, a feared Shiite militia.

Ansar al-Sunnah , which means "partisans of the law," is an offshoot of a group called Ansar al-Islam, which was formed in Kurdistan but has not been heard from in many months. The vast majority of its leaders and foot soldiers are Iraqi Sunnis who adhere to a strict, fundamentalist form of Islam called Salafism, which calls for a return to the practices of early Muslims and has gained radical expression throughout the Arab world. Their tactics -- including lethal suicide attacks -- and religious underpinnings are similar to those of al-Qaeda, but the two groups are considered bitter rivals for influence within the insurgent community. Among their best-known attacks was a roadside bomb blast that killed 14 Marines and an interpreter in August, the deadliest such attack of the war.

The stated goal of the Islamic Army in Iraq is to drive the U.S. military out of Iraq. Comprised almost entirely of Iraqi Sunnis, including many still loyal to Saddam Hussein's regime and Baath Party, it is considered more nationalistic than religious in motivation. As many as three-quarters of its attacks, which include improvised bombs and kidnappings but not suicide attacks, are conducted against U.S. forces and non-Iraqi contractors. It often releases video footage of its operations. The group publishes a monthly magazine called al-Fursan and has denied rumors circulating last summer that it was in discussions with Iraqi officials about laying down its weapons. Its members reportedly include a sniper named "Juba," who gained a cult following when he was said to have killed several American soldiers in Baghdad last summer and fall.

There is some discussion as to whether the Islamic Front of the Iraqi Resistance , one of the most highly publicized insurgent organizations, is actually an armed group or something of a public relations organ for other groups. It maintains a frequently updated Web site and publishes a magazine called Jami, an acronym composed of its Arabic initials, which also mean "mosque" or "gathering." It has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in and around the northern city of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city.

Smaller groups

Mujahidin Army : A group that has released dozens of videos of bomb, rocket and sniper attacks, most of them directed against U.S. forces. Along with the Islamic Army in Iraq, it denied reports of rapprochement talks with the Iraqi government last year. It is one of a few smaller insurgent groups that called for attacks against Danish troops in the wake of the publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad last fall.

Muhammad Army : A group made up mostly of Iraqi former Baathists and a few foreign fighters, it claimed credit for the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters that killed 23 people, including the organization's chief of mission.

1920 Revolution Brigades : This group, which has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile kidnappings of Westerners and Iraqis working with U.S. forces, is named for the Iraqi uprising against the British after World War I. The group calls itself the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, another insurgent organization.

Conquering Army : A new group that has emerged in the past two months through a series of videos released on the Internet and to regional television networks showing kidnapping victims confessing to various "crimes" such as working with American forces.

Swords of the Righteous : A previously unknown group that gained prominence by claiming responsibility, in videos, for the kidnapping of four Christian Peacemaker workers, one of whom, Tom Fox of Virginia, was found dead March 10.

Iraqi Vengeance Brigades : A little-known group that has released videos showing American journalist Jill Carroll, who was abducted in Baghdad in early January.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...702087_pf.html

from the "who's who" guide, there would appear to be a mixture of nationalistic and religious motivations....
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 04:20 PM   #28
CapelDodger
Penultimate Amazing
 
CapelDodger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Cardiff, South Wales
Posts: 25,102
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned economics yet. Follow the money ...

Where you find communities with mixed religions there's almost always a history of conquest behind it. In Northern Ireland the Protestant Plantation followed subjugation of the native Catholic population; in India the Muslim Mughals invaded from Central Asia; Muslim Chechnya was invaded by Orthodox Russia; Orthodox Serbia was conquered by the Muslim Ottomans. And so on. The conquerors naturally become the economic elite and use their power to stay that way. The conquered naturally resent it, and conflict follows any weakening of central power. Superficially (and this guy Harris does seem to do superficial) religion is behind it, but really it's about the economy and how the goodies are divided up. IMO.
__________________
It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward - Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

God can make a cow out of a tree, but has He ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so - William of Conches, c1150
CapelDodger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 04:40 PM   #29
BrianSI
A Rebarbative Cyst
 
BrianSI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,397
Some have mentioned economics: the land that is being fought over.
__________________
In God we trust. Everyone else must bring data.

"There's nothing wrong with science ... between air conditioning and the pope, I'll take air conditioning."
-- Woody Allen in Deconstructing Harry
BrianSI is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 04:54 PM   #30
CapelDodger
Penultimate Amazing
 
CapelDodger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Cardiff, South Wales
Posts: 25,102
Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
Chechen conflict; nationalism, a desire for independence.
Plus control over what oil they've got left. And a chance of getting the top jobs, which generally went to Russians. (Not so much these days; if anything, it's a punishment posting.)

Quote:
israel/palestine; born of jewish zionism and arab nationalism - an issue of land exacerbated by religion. Could one say the conflict was caused by religion? Should one regard the Jews as a racial group or as a religious group?
To Herzl and his acolytes Jews were a racial group - back then such thinking was mainstream in Europe. Religion only really entered the picture in 1982, with the invasion of Lebanon. That provided a beachhead for post-Revolutionary Iran.

Quote:
Serbia, croatia, albania; long standing ethnic, religious, geopolitical divisions, trigered by the collapse of communism and nationalism
And resentment of Serbs getting all the good jobs.

Quote:
Eritrea, etheopia; - long standing hostilites, eritrean struggle for independence, land ownership disputes
Ethiopians getting the good jobs . The history of the region is basically about the waxing and waning of Ethiopian (Amharan) imperialism. Not much has changed, if anything.

Quote:
Tamil tigers, sri lanka; - post colonial divisions, fight for indepence
The economic effect there is blindingly obvious. The colonial power brought in Tamil "coolie" labour from the manland for their plantations, then buggered off and left them behind. That story was never going to end well.

Religion isn't even touted much as a contributor there, yet suicide-bombings by Tamils is a major feature. Weird, that. Even the Japanese kamikazes were (in theory) doing it for a God-Emperor.
__________________
It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward - Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

God can make a cow out of a tree, but has He ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so - William of Conches, c1150
CapelDodger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 05:16 PM   #31
CapelDodger
Penultimate Amazing
 
CapelDodger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Cardiff, South Wales
Posts: 25,102
Originally Posted by BrianSI View Post
Some have mentioned economics: the land that is being fought over.
I think it's useful to be explicit about the economic component. "Land" was once synonymous with "wealth", but those days are long gone. The real opportunities are in the cities, with their boardrooms, banks, and government institutions.
__________________
It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward - Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

God can make a cow out of a tree, but has He ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so - William of Conches, c1150
CapelDodger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 08:28 PM   #32
EeneyMinnieMoe
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,221
Maybe not in that paragraph but he does say pretty much that in his books. I haven't read that one cover to cover but I have read chunks of it and he does say that it creates an in/out group mentality that justifies and creates violence.

Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
which in the list would you actually characterise as a religious conflict? They all seem (at least from preliminary research) to be primarily about what many other wars are about - land and nationalism. I'm struggling to think of any contemporary struggle* that wasn't primarily about land, nationalism, wealth or power.

*Islamic terrorism perhaps a special case, as mentioned earlier...
Well, I'd put Northern Ireland there. The Protestants invaded Ireland in the first place because they felt their religion gave them the right to do it. The confict there isn't about "the poor and rich" or "Brits and Irishmen", it's about "Protestants and Catholics". Although nationality, ethnicity and politics play a part in it too, to be sure.

And what's the first thing that happened when Ireland and Britain secularized? The IRA started talking to the government and they're laying down arms and peacefully negotiating.
EeneyMinnieMoe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 09:20 PM   #33
Herzblut
Master Poster
 
Herzblut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,234
Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
This is from Sam Harris
I hate to make an argument from authority, but in case of Harris allow me to ask why anybody should take this insane guy any serious.

He worships weird woo'ish nonsense that he hammered together from what he thinks eastern religions say. He is the most aggressive, militant anti-islamic writer I have ever heart about. He endorses torturing potential islamistic terrorists and in his wet woo woo dreams Islam will be eradicated from the face of earth with merciless, ruthless brute force.

http://skepdic.com/news/newsletter74.html#3

This man is an emergent case for the madhouse.

herz
__________________
Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. - Charles Chaplin, 1940

Last edited by Herzblut; 28th August 2007 at 09:23 PM.
Herzblut is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 09:23 PM   #34
andyandy
anthropomorphic ape
 
andyandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,377
Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
Well, I'd put Northern Ireland there. The Protestants invaded Ireland in the first place because they felt their religion gave them the right to do it. The confict there isn't about "the poor and rich" or "Brits and Irishmen", it's about "Protestants and Catholics". Although nationality, ethnicity and politics play a part in it too, to be sure.

And what's the first thing that happened when Ireland and Britain secularized? The IRA started talking to the government and they're laying down arms and peacefully negotiating.
To regard British imperialism as primarily caused by religion I think is really to misunderstand the colonial era. The English Ireland conflict has been a regular historical artifact, indeed long before "England" and "Ireland" take any modern resemblance of meaning. From the middle ages onwards there is already post Norman legacy of control, and whilst certainly new found religious zeal fermented with the protestant reformation, Tudour reconquest was conducted in the era of Henry VIII - himself a rather pragmatic land and power hungry monarch. I think it would be a stretch to see that conflict as primarily religious in nature - it's about the reassertion of crown control.

And then you jump forward nearly 500 years to present day to make the claim that it is the secularization of Britain and Ireland that has led to the current peace process...this is rather a monumental leap over half a millennium and really is not a valid way of understanding the conflict, the Irish Republican demands (nationalist not religious) nor the resolution of the conflict (Good Friday agreement helped cemented by the unsustainabiliy of terrorist method following the new world climate post 9-11, the result of huge compromise by the British government (many prisoners freed), and also the result of a strong political and populace led desire to prioritise peace). Given that the moden IRA was only a creation of the late 1960s (1969), and that there has not been any tremendous secularising shift in the subsequent 3 decades, that the demands were nationalistic not religious, and indeed that Harris himself narrows his focus on the conflict to the last few decades, then i see little reason to conclude that religion was an explicit cause of the conflict nor secularisation the reason for its resolution.
__________________
"Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."

Last edited by andyandy; 28th August 2007 at 09:48 PM.
andyandy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 09:43 PM   #35
EeneyMinnieMoe
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,221
Originally Posted by Herzblut View Post
I hate to make an argument from authority, but in case of Harris allow me to ask why anybody should take this insane guy any serious.

He worships weird woo'ish nonsense that he hammered together from what he thinks eastern religions say. He is the most aggressive, militant anti-islamic writer I have ever heart about. He endorses torturing potential islamistic terrorists and in his wet woo woo dreams Islam will be eradicated from the face of earth with merciless, ruthless brute force.

http://skepdic.com/news/newsletter74.html#3

This man is an emergent case for the madhouse.

herz
Herz, he's a very talented and very powerful writer. He writes very thoughtful, powerful and moving treatises against organized religion you'd surely appreciate very much. I found myself quite moved by his book A Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith.

Though, yes, his view of Arabs and Muslims is outrageously racist. I understand he's a polemicist and it's his style to push buttons but he's more like Ann Coulter than anyone when he starts on Muslims. Makes me wonder if he really believes that stuff or is just pulling an Ann Coulter to sell books. Or maybe he just gets a kick out of provocation and defending hard to defend positions, in which case he'd be better advised to join a message board. Or maybe he really does take criticism of Islam that far, like Bill Maher does.

As for the woo, I was stunned he believes in that stuff given the content of his books and his attacks on astrology and other nonsense. He's about the last person I would have suspected of being a woo.

Last edited by EeneyMinnieMoe; 28th August 2007 at 10:22 PM.
EeneyMinnieMoe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 10:14 PM   #36
gtc
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,110
Originally Posted by CapelDodger View Post
The economic effect there is blindingly obvious. The colonial power brought in Tamil "coolie" labour from the manland for their plantations, then buggered off and left them behind. That story was never going to end well.

Religion isn't even touted much as a contributor there, yet suicide-bombings by Tamils is a major feature. Weird, that. Even the Japanese kamikazes were (in theory) doing it for a God-Emperor.
The Hill Country Tamils were brought over from India by the British but most of the conflict today involves the Tamils of the North and East. They appear to have been present in Ceylon for a lot longer (this is one of the points of contention).

The position of the Hill Country Tamils after independence (not wanted by either Ceylon or India) was one of the causes of conflict but it seems to me that the ethnic quotas and nationalist aspirations of the Ceylonese and Tamils was a more important factor in the conflict.

These are just my opinions; the conflict is very complicated for an outsider to understand.
gtc is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 10:20 PM   #37
Herzblut
Master Poster
 
Herzblut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,234
Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
Herz, he's a very talented and very powerful writer. He writes very thoughtful, powerful and moving treatises against organized religion you'd surely appreciate very much.
Don't think so. I prefer academic, cool and clean. Fanatics like Harris most likely drive their agenda by inner personal emotional forces. Has he lost friends in 9/11 to motivate his cruzade and is not capable to realize this? There's professional help out there.

Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
I found myself quite moved by his book A Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith.
I think his is not qualified to talk about religion.

Look at his speech in Session 9 of BeyondBelief 2006:

http://beyondbelief2006.org/watch/

I can effortless tore him to shreds and would be pretty surprized if you couldn't as well.

Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
Though, yes, his view of Arabs and Muslims is outrageously racist.
What is dad guy's moral legitimation to ride roughshod over others?

herz
__________________
Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. - Charles Chaplin, 1940

Last edited by Herzblut; 28th August 2007 at 10:24 PM.
Herzblut is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th August 2007, 10:30 PM   #38
EeneyMinnieMoe
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,221
Not to defend the paranoid demagoguery about Muslims taking over Europe and hyperbole about terrorism but I think those are common views that many Americans have about Muslims, post 9/11.

On the late night debate show Real Time with Bill Maher, you hear things like that every week. Worse.

It's one of those things both the right and left are guilty of. The right from Ann Coulter to the doozies at the National Review spew crap about "Islamofacists" and cliches about Muslims and the left takes criticisms of Islam, coming from secular liberalism, way too far.

Last edited by EeneyMinnieMoe; 28th August 2007 at 10:48 PM.
EeneyMinnieMoe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th August 2007, 12:21 PM   #39
CapelDodger
Penultimate Amazing
 
CapelDodger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Cardiff, South Wales
Posts: 25,102
Originally Posted by gtc View Post
The Hill Country Tamils were brought over from India by the British but most of the conflict today involves the Tamils of the North and East. They appear to have been present in Ceylon for a lot longer (this is one of the points of contention).
I've come across some of that particular contention. Extreme Sinhalese nationalists argue, unconvincingly, that all the Tamils are recent arrivals. It fits a quite common pattern where nationalism is concerned : Serb nationalists claim the same of the Kosovars, Boers claimed it of South African blacks, NI Prods have even claimed it of the local Taigs.

Quote:
The position of the Hill Country Tamils after independence (not wanted by either Ceylon or India) was one of the causes of conflict but it seems to me that the ethnic quotas and nationalist aspirations of the Ceylonese and Tamils was a more important factor in the conflict.
Significant demographic changes do tend to touch a particularly sensitive nerve.

Quote:
These are just my opinions; the conflict is very complicated for an outsider to understand.
No argument there . Apart from the purely Sri Lankan complexities there are Tamil demagogues on the mainland exploiting (and maintaining) the conflict. When a minority in one country is a majority in the region it's a recipe for trouble - the Sudetan Germans being an example.

When all's said and done, though, religion really doesn't play a significant role.
__________________
It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward - Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

God can make a cow out of a tree, but has He ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so - William of Conches, c1150
CapelDodger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th August 2007, 03:27 PM   #40
Darth Rotor
Salted Sith Cynic
 
Darth Rotor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 38,527
Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
Well, I'd put Northern Ireland there. The Protestants invaded Ireland in the first place because they felt their religion gave them the right to do it.
Are you going to stand by that remark? Which Protestants are you referring to, and in which century? Andyandy responded to your claim, and you seem to have gone all quiet.

DR
__________________
Helicopters don't so much fly as beat the air into submission.
"Jesus wept, but did He laugh?"--F.H. Buckley____"There is one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth ... His mirth." --Chesterton__"If the barbarian in us is excised, so is our humanity."--D'rok__ "I only use my gun whenever kindness fails."-- Robert Earl Keen__"Sturgeon spares none.". -- The Marquis

Last edited by Darth Rotor; 29th August 2007 at 03:33 PM.
Darth Rotor is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:42 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.