What stereotype pisses you off the most?

I don't think you understand what I meant about philosophical suicide. Any religion inherently is, and only could be; because you should forge your own answers, not adopt someone else's.

I honestly don't think that you understand the connection between theology and philosophy. Descartes is considered a very important philosopher; his Discourse on Method is absolutely full of original thought and is considered a turning point. He was not simply following the Catholic religion. I would argue that there are a lot of religious philosophers that are not simply dogmatic parrots. In fact, many Christians and Muslims were particularly engaged in integrating Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy into theological thought. That's the only reason we have Aristotle and Plato nowadays, by the way: Greek manuscripts translated to Syriac and later Arabic in the Ottoman Empire and later translated into Latin in Spain. Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes are examples of Muslims who took part in this dialogue; Thomas Aquinas and Thomas More are examples of Christians.

There's also jesus commanding people to serve their masters and delimiting just how hard you're allowed to beat your slaves.

I'm actually unfamiliar with the verse you're referring to in the second part of that sentence. Is it really in the New Testament? As for the first part, service to others is a very important part of Jesus' message. Also, ancient Jewish slavery was not chattel slavery; it was more like indentured servitude. Slaves were meant to be kept for nine years; in the tenth year, the master was not to let the slave leave empty-handed (i.e., he was supposed to give him land and the means to grow his own crops). Every 49th or 50th year, all debts were forgiven, all slaves were freed, and land that had been sold reverted to the original owning family. It wasn't really the land that was being sold, but the amount of crops left in the 49 or 50 year cycle. A portion of the land was also to be left fallow, and the poor could eat whatever grew in the fallow fields. We do not know how closely this system was kept to, but the fact that it is laid out in the Old Testament gives an account of the importance social justice held in Jewish thought.

I really think he was more worried about the poor.

No, that's Karl Markx. We're talking about jesus.

Really? Even if many Christians are not particularly concerned with the poor, I think that Jesus's interest in the poor is quite apparent. He mentions them in the Beatitudes ("Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God"), and then in Matthew 25:31-46, he describes the basis of the final judgment as the service individuals give to the poor and other marginalized groups. "Whatsoever you do to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did to me". Jesus died the death of the lowest kind of criminal as well, and he did not surround himself with riches.

Religious scriptures clearly dictate woman's place to be lower than man's. I'd be a massive idiot not to see the correlation - and yes, in this case, causation, there. As I outlined earlier, the only alternative is racism and there is no evidence for that. Even if there was, this wouldn't explain medieval Europe's stance on women

Is this also true of Chinese religious writings? Or are you still referring to Abrahamic religions? In any case, I still do not see that the oppression of women was inevitable just with the advent of Christianity to Europe. Besides that, I would not say that Roman women were particularly free; the practice of using women and marriage as political tools was a Roman tradition. Adultery was discouraged perhaps, but prostitution was widely accepted even in Christian Europe. In any case, the Romans (and Greeks) were still a very patriarchic society, and medieval Europe carried on that tradition. Women are given prominent places in Abrahamic scripture, as well: Mary, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Ruth, Sarah, Martha, etc. Not to mention the numerous female Christian saints of the Middle Ages.

You mention women's freedom among the Romans and the Norse as if Abrahamic religion precluded that necessarily. But there are other patriarchic societies that oppressed women even without Abrahamic religion: China, India and parts of Africa being clear examples. Feminism has also made great strides in Latin America, without much conflict or opposition from the Christian majority (opposition from the people in charge, yes, but not because of Christian dogma). Dilma Rousseff is a good example of a Catholic woman in a position of power in modern times.

In any case, I think that your idea that religion and racism are the only possible explanations for the oppression of women in the world is a false binary. Religion or irreligion does not necessarily require that one be sexist or non-sexist; I'm sure there are plenty of sexist atheists. I also don't believe that past cultures should be viewed through the lens of racism, because that is a very presentist perspective to take.

As for opposing scientific advances: who led the charge against heliocentrism? The catholic church.

Against the Theory of Evolution? Historically, the catholic church; contemporarily, protestants and muslims.

Against stem cell research? US protestants, again.

Ah, people will never stop giving the Catholic Church shit about heliocentrism. First off, the Catholic Church had nothing in particular against a heliocentric theory (Galileo's arrest had political motivations; Renaissance popes and all that). Secondly, Robert Bellarmine, the prosecutor in Galileo's first trial, was very interested in giving Galileo a fair trial. However, he had an objection to heliocentric theory: whereas it was true that a heliocentric universe would "save the appearances" and was mathematically possible in theory, Galileo could not provide a complete cause-and-effect demonstration. He could not show why the universe should be heliocentric, only that it could be. (This, by the way, is not something the Church made up; the cause-and-effect demonstration is from Aristotle's Logic). Bellarmine was not convinced that such a demonstration existed. Even today we insist on experiments with replicable results. At that time, there was no way to prove that a heliocentric theory was accurate (even though it was mathematically correct).

The theory of evolution is a fair point; I cannot deny that. But everyone was opposed to that theory when it first came out. Everyone is aware of the political cartoons made of Darwin. Furthermore, it led to social darwinism, which in turn led to eugenics and helped justify racism. The idea of "the poor are poor because they're inferior, not because they're oppressed by unrestrained capitalist competition" is not a doctrine anyone should support. In any case, evolutionary creationists are another example of people who take the Old Testament literally, even though there is no historical reason to suggest such a literal interpretation. The Hebrew word used for "day" in the account of creation in Genesis does not have only the literal sense of a 24-hour day (which was a Roman way of measuring time anyway). We also say "in our day" to mean "in our age" or "our time". This is how the Catholic Church interprets the account of creation, and that is why evolutionary theory is largely accepted as compatible with Catholic thought.

Against stem cell research? US protestants, again.

I can't really speak for protestants, but I do know that the Catholic Church is not opposed to stem cell research as long as it is not embryonic. The issue with embryonic stem cell research is that it kills the embryo (which is thought to have a soul) and has yet to be proven. Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, has already been used with success and does not have that moral issue. This is why the Vatican has supported adult stem cell research since at least 2010.

Do you think that people of the same religion are in agreement on every issue? Do you think that religious thought is unaffected by the age in which it's found? I do not think atheists are all in agreement, and nor are believers. Religious thought also changes over the centuries; and judging the past based on modern ideas is also the definition of presentism.

Atheists are in the middle, a punchingbag for both: the extremists would have us burn, the moderates claim we read their texts too literally or "focus too much on the extremists", as if we had no reason to.

I would argue that moderates are the vast, disproportionate minority. I would also say that most extremists, particularly Islamic extremists, are not motivated as much by religious belief as they are by historic oppression at the hands of Western nations such as the US, France, England, and Germany. Of course some of the extremists are motivated by religious beliefs, but even so, they're the minority. Most of these extreme schools of religious thought are relatively recent as well; for instance, Wahhabism dates back only to the 19th Century. But to judge the entirety of Islam, a very diverse religion, on the basis of a small, visible minority like Wahhabism is like disliking all black people just because you don't like James Brown's music.

/r/AskReddit Thread