From the TheGodDelusion thread, mah said,

people use groups (religion, race, nationalism, programming language preference, emacs vs vi, and on and on) to create an "us" to battle a "them".

What causes a group of people to go kill another group of people? I guess that either a person or an event radicalizes the group, and sets them on the warpath.

Bookclubs may "suffer" from a selection problem, as the group of social book readers probably has less sociopaths than the general population. With less radicalizing people, they kill less often.

Bookclubs may suffer less radicalizing events. I.e. inoften do people target book clubs for rejection/persecution. What causes people to reject and persecute? When people do things that we view as "wrong", the odds of us rejecting/persecuting them increases. Because bookclubs sit around reading books and talking, everyone else doesn't have a whole lot to get upset about.

On the other hand, religion and state-based groups try to convert others and win influence, thereby bringing them into conflict with other mutually-incompatible groups, who "reward" those actions with increasing rejection and persecution.

"mutually incompatible" is a product of the specific group of people, not religion or state/government groups per se. And even if people view themselves as not compatible, that does not, in itself, mean that they will use rejection and persecution. (And, for what it is worth, I was able to find an academic paper that followed women's reading groups and saw that many of them turned into social organisations. A book club can evolve into a social movement can evolve into a group that practices violence.) ... Further, in your earlier post, you said that government has replaced many of the practical benefits of religion and you now seem to be saying that statist organisations are just as bad as religious ones. I'm not going to disagree (I think any government with a fulltime military is going to be inherently more violent than a religion without one), but the contrast seems strange to me.
In the Bible before Paul became a follower of Jesus, he actively persecuted Christians. After he was converted he was a fervent follower of Christ and actively preached and tried to win converts. He did all of those things in a non-violent way. It's interesting that it was only after he dedicated his life to Jesus did he stop persecuting and was able to deal with conflicting religious views in a non-violent way. -- DS
Well, Evangelism + "ye shall have no other gods before me" seems to indicate mutual-incompatibility. Assume that religions have expanded and now have every person spoken for. The only way to expand is to take away from another religion. --- These takeaways negatively impact the finances of the other religion's social insurance. At the heart of it, Evangelism means taking people and money away from another religion. -- Patrick.
For the sake of this discussion, I'll grant your scenario: Proselytism causes religious struggle and violence. Still, consider the Amish. They do not rely on the government for social insurance (in many cases, they do not pay Social Security) so the social insurance aspect of their religious practice is especially important. Second, they do not actively proselytize. The only new Amish tend to be those people born Amish. Third, other Christian sects "poach" from their population on a regular basis. Still, they remain non-violent. How does this fit into your worldview?
I think what is missing in the Picture from earlier, was "Imagine a World Completed Dominated by Religion" Answer: The Dark Ages. Pick anyone "Faith", and put them in complete control of the whole. Simply look at the Puritans, or the Catholics, or the "Fillin or Group that had control at one time or another". I would bet we would not have computers, or hospitals, or even electricity. -- srineer
srineer, speculation is great fun, but proves nothing to anyone. The big bang theory was the work of a Catholic priest. Genetics began with a monk. Religious people have worked hard to move science along. The idea that religion and progress are somehow opposed to each other is a fairly new one.
Social insurance matters most when scarcity hits. The Amish have done a good job of making more money and people than they lose. When something threatens their livelihood, we will see what happens then. --- Perhaps a good test of the Amish would be to send in some devout Baptists bent on converting the Amish. After court orders fail, and trespass continues, we'll see how our Amish react.
How about sending an armed milkman into Amish schoolhouse intent on raping and killing the young school girls? How do you think they would react then?
I really don't think that social insurance is a main purpose or goal of any religion. Christianity is mostly about preparing for the afterlife. Patrick, you're figuring finances wayyy to much into the equation.
Again, speculation about how people or groups would act in a given situation gets us no where. I interpretted Patrick's hypothetical about social insurance and Baptists as "Well, the Amish just haven't had their belief tested." I countered with an actual situation in which their non-violent, turn-the-other-cheek ethos has been tested and, in my estimation, they have withstood it. I don't see how being poor is a bigger test than losing your daughter, so I think, given their response to real-life threats, they could withstand Patrick's hypothetical one pretty well.
Well, just for a second, imagine that beliefs don't matter; that we just have some groups that have different identifiers (like that Salon comic). Groups need resources (people & money) to survive; dwindling resources means increased likelihood of the group ceasing to exist. --- With the killer milkman, the Amish lost few resources (children have less resources invested in them than a young adult of 25 years). While I'm sure that day sucked bigtime, their group existence was never really in doubt. -- Patrick.
Taking the Temporal and Spiritual split between kings and popes, Christianity's Spiritual side lies in preparing for your afterlife, while its Temporal side deals with keeping the group alive (acquiring resources). If Church Elders neglect the Temporal side, the group will fail and the Word lost.... -- Patrick.
Patrick, you are arguing against yourself by dismissing the death of those schoolchildren with "the Amish lost few resources." Can you seriously believe that the Amish think social insurance is more valuble than the life of a loved child -- that somehow they'll snap and act out violently when threated by the mytical "baptists" when, in actual practice, they remained true to their belief in the face of horrendous suffering. I'm speechless.
Ok, this is a new thread. My promise to stay out of the discussion applied to the other one ;) I think Patrick's reasoning is fine. There is a difference between a random attack by an individual and a an organized effort by a group. To take an example from current events, you don't see the US declaring war on South Korea right now do you? -- David W