religion and cognitrive dissodence

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by JBeukema, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. JBeukema
    Offline

    JBeukema BANNED

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    25,613
    Thanks Received:
    1,703
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    everywhere and nowhere
    Ratings:
    +1,705
    Tamarin presented to more than a thousand Israeli school children, aged between eight and fourteen, the account of the battle of Jericho in the book of Joshua:
    Joshua said to the people, 'Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. . . But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.'. . . Then they utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and asses, with the edge of the sword. . . And they burned the city with fire, and all within it; only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
    Tamarin then asked the children a simple moral question: 'Do you think Joshua and the Israelites acted rightly or not?' They had to choose between A (total approval), B (partial approval) and C (total disapproval). The results were polarized: 66 percent gave total approval and 26 percent total disapproval, with rather fewer (8 percent) in the middle with partial approval. Here are three typical answers from the total approval (A) group:
    In my opinion Joshua and the Sons of Israel acted well, and here are the reasons: God promised them this land, and gave them permission to conquer. If they would not have acted in this manner or killed anyone, then there would be the danger that the Sons of Israel would have assimilated among the Goyim.
    In my opinion Joshua was right when he did it, one reason being that God commanded him to exterminate the people so that the tribes of Israel will not be able to assimilate amongst them and learn their bad ways.
    Joshua did good because the people who inhabited the land were of a different religion, and when Joshua killed them he wiped their religion from the earth.
    The justification for the genocidal massacre by Joshua is religious in every case. Even those in category C, who gave total disapproval, did so, in some cases, for backhanded religious reasons. One girl, for example, disapproved of Joshua's conquering Jericho because, in order to do so, he had to enter it:
    I think it is bad, since the Arabs are impure and if one enters an impure land one will also become impure and share their curse.
    Two others who totally disapproved did so because Joshua destroyed everything, including animals and property, instead of keeping some as spoil for Israelites:
    I think Joshua did not act well, as they could have spared the animals for themselves.
    I think Joshua did not act well, as he could have left the property of Jericho; if he had not destroyed the property it would have belonged to the Israelites.
    Once again the sage Maimonides, often cited for his scholarly wisdom, is in no doubt where he stands on this issue: 'It is a positive commandment to destroy the seven nations, as it is said: Thou shalt utterly destroy them. If one does not put to death any of them that falls into one's power, one transgresses a negative commandment, as it is said: Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.'
    Unlike Maimonides, the children in Tamarin's experiment were young enough to be innocent. Presumably the savage views they expressed were those of their parents or the cultural group in which they were brought up. It is, I suppose, not unlikely that Palestinian children, brought up in the same war-torn country, would offer equivalent opinions in the opposite direction. These considerations fill me with despair. They seem to show the immense power of religion, and especially the religious upbringing of children, to divide people and foster historic enmities and hereditary vendettas. I cannot help remarking that two out of Tamarin's three quotations from group A mentioned the evils of assimilation, while the third one stressed the importance of killing people in order to stamp out their religion.

    Tamarin ran a fascinating control group in his experiment. A different group of 168 Israeli children were given the same text from the book of Joshua, but with Joshua's own name replaced by 'General Lin' and 'Israel' replaced by 'a Chinese kingdom 3,000 years ago'. Now the experiment gave opposite results. Only 7 per cent approved of General Lin's behavior, and 75 percent disapproved. In other words, when their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of the children agreed with the moral judgments that most modern humans would share. Joshua's action was a deed of barbaric genocide. But it all looks different from a religious point of view. And the difference starts early in life. It was religion that made the difference between children condemning genocide and condoning it.




    cited by Charles Darwin in The God Delusion
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  2. Kalam
    Offline

    Kalam Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Messages:
    8,866
    Thanks Received:
    773
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +773
    Darwin?

    Dawkins.
     
  3. Mad Scientist
    Offline

    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    23,936
    Thanks Received:
    5,211
    Trophy Points:
    270
    Ratings:
    +7,676
    "cognitrive"?
    Cognitive.
     

Share This Page