Religion is used as a scapegoat

June 13, 2015, 3:13 am

Agree47 Disagree31

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The debate "Religion is used as a scapegoat" was started by jets8394 on June 13, 2015, 3:13 am. 47 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 31 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.

PsychDave posted 6 arguments to the agreers part.
Sosocratese posted 5 arguments, invincible_01 posted 1 argument to the disagreers part.

jets8394, username_gracie, PlatypusParty, PsychDave, omfgcandy, The_lamp, toughgamerjerry, INDIA, ombatra1997, ScarletandRose, historybuff, amanofprogress, Mathew, Upbeatethan, ChonCunningham, tr, sidp31, lybee, kaka, R3dD0g, ylmzemrah, AstroSpace, musejay1, DerpedLocke, pajrc1234 and 22 visitors agree.
Sosocratese, gibran, invincible_01, owentowe, vumtucks, I_Voyager, Bxat9, Flaming_Butt_Tart_42, raz, kay_joey1101, keyboardwarrior, rishab, DavidStuff777, CJismyname12, sabrina, Ashna, bearunter, denno27 and 13 visitors disagree.

While I am aware he is a troll, the post about putting all Muslim immigrants through a 9/11 simulator shows what I mean. There are people who honestly feel that it would be a good idea and who believe that Islam is entirely made up of terrorists. The faith is being made out as a monster because of the actions of its most extreme groups, even though those groups have been condemned by every western Muslim organization. There is now the view that terrorism is because of Islam, which is not accurate. By claiming terrorists are all Muslim, it is making Islam into a scapegoat for all terrorists acts.

4 years, 2 months ago

I see two problems with your statement. The first is that the majority agree with the extreme viewpoint ISIS and other groups embrace. While there may be many who agree with sharia law, there are many who believe that the Bible should have more influence on American law, despite some of the terrible laws therein. Furthermore, if the majority agreed with this view, ISIS would not need to fight and conquer the area, as they would be welcomed. The Muslims in the area have not embraced them and constitute the majority of the forces against them. ISIS also kills other Muslims as they believe anyone not of their sect is not really Muslim. This fact doesn't get much press in North America since it muddies the "Muslims are out to get us" story as portrayed by the media.

My second disagreement is that a subject does not need to be innocent of all wrongdoing to be a scapegoat, they just need to not be guilty of everything being blamed on them. Muslims are not terrorists, terrorists are terrorists and some of them are Muslim. By blurring the distinction, and by constantly reinforcing the connection between terrorism and Islam, the media has convinced many people that all (or at least most) Muslims want to kill the western infidels. I have met many Muslims, and have spoken to them about their faith and have yet to meet one who feels this way. Many Muslims disagree with Christian theology, but believe that as it is a "religion of the book " it is not wholly wrong, just imperfect. This means they are not hostile to Christians (or Jews) they just feel that they are mistaken, but not beyond hope. This is not part of the media's dialogue at all. Finally, much of the "religious" conflict in the world is more political than religious. People are fighting for land and resources and using religion as a tool to unify their supporters. Religion is not causing the conflict, but it is blamed, making it a scapegoat.

4 years, 2 months ago

That first sentence is supposed to read:
Often paint with a broad brush....

4 years, 2 months ago

I agree that we are often with a very broad brush. However, is it really scapegoating if the majority of a populous believes in honor killings, sharia law, killing those that leave their faith etc.... Aren't those the kinds of believes that allow groups like ISIS and the Taliban to flourish and thrive?

I understand that geopolitics are complex and problems like ISIS seldom have unilateral reasons for existing. I don't think any person who is intellectually honest about their criticism of religion (Islam in this example) would deny that. We do fear monger quite a bit now a days, however, claiming that we scapegoat religion in general is, I think more of a reach than saying Islam, Christianity, etc... have intrinsic teachings and morals which are incompatible with modern social norms. You can make a very valid argument in defense of religion by saying that arguments against religion often place too much of the blame for horrible act x on religion y.

To say we're scapegoating religion implies an innocence of religion. If you're saying we're scapegoating Islam for terrorism, ISIS, etc.... You're saying that Islam bares no responsibility and has no causal effect for such groups. I

4 years, 2 months ago

I have no problem with critiques of religion based on past actions that are still visible today. I also in no way believe that all criticisms of religion are unwarranted (as my debating history clearly shows. Why I feel that religions sometimes are treated as scapegoats is because I see all members of a religion painted with the same brush, and religions are frequently blamed for conflict and violence, even if they do not cause it. Western nations have started seeing Islam as evil and the problems with economies are being at least partially blamed on the war in the middle east. The flaw is that the current ISIS uprising was made possible by the US creating a power vacuum, then pulling out. ISIS didn't create the situation, they merely capitalized on it. But Islam is being blamed for the entire conflict, and while there certainly are Muslim terrorists, they are nowhere near as common as the media portrays. Any time there is a shooting, the media looks to see if it can be tied to Islam. Even before they know anything about the shooter, they will report that "We do not yet know if this shooting is connected to an Islamic terrorist group." Islam has become the go to scapegoat for violence in the world.

I am aware that there are many problems with religion and have no problem with people criticizing them, I just feel that lately too much I'd being blamed on certain religions.

4 years, 2 months ago

I think you misunderstood my argument a little. I'm in no way trying to hold all of modern Christianity responsible for all of the actions of people living in the 1400s. However, it's mistake to say that critiques of Christianity (I'm using Christianity because I'm most familiar with its history, but the arguments obviously apply more broadly) are not valid critiques simply because the criticism manifests in actions taken in the past.

Take homosexuality for example. While opposition to it was much more violent in the 1400s, modern Christianity is still opposed to homosexuality (of course not every sect of Christians etc... Things have gotten too complicated to make universally true statements about religions these days). It remains fair to compare modern Christians who dislike homosexuality based on religious ideals to 1400s Christians. The bigotry remains, the extent of brutality may be different. So we're not scapegoating Christianity, we're accusing modern Christians, who hold the same believes as their historical counterparts of immorality for their views based on historical manifestations of those believes.

Now, fear mongering is another issue of course. I will address your Islamic argument here as well.

Is it really scapegoating when you criticise based on majority opinion? I'll post only a few countries and polls as to not waste a lot of time and space. The following numbers come from pew poll (I can submit the link if you like)
% of people who agree with Honor killings (of women)
Jordan 66%
Iraq 78%
Egypt 69%
Lebanon 55%
% of people who favor sharia law
Russia 42%
Malaysia 86%
Indonesia 72%
Afghanistan 99%
Iraq 91%
Jordan 71%
Egypt 74%
Etc...
I think we can safely say that criticism of fundamentalist Islam is more broadly applicable than not. While it is true that these numbers diminish greatly in the western world, it does speak to majority Muslim countries and does so harshly.

I agree that the conclusions drawn from criticising religions often are too broadly applied, however, to say that all religions are being scapegoated is a false claim. I would say there are certain sects of those religions to which some criticisms don't apply, but not that religion as a whole is being blamed for things which have nothing to do with them.

4 years, 2 months ago

While I understand your perspective, I disagree on several points. The first is that the KKK can be used to speak for their religious texts, and that this interpretation can be used to define Christianity. If I were to claim that Christianity was to blame for the racism on America and point to the KKK as evidence, I am willfully ignoring all other sources of evidence.

Furthermore, by using one of the most extreme forms of the worship as the benchmark, I am generalizing their beliefs to many who do not share them. Look at the anti-Muslim sentiment in many countries to see what this generalization has done. The vast majority of Muslims are regular people, but there is hate everywhere because they are lumped in with ISIS. They are being used as a scapegoat for terrorism and societal problems, when there have been more terror attacks by Jewish extremists than Muslim between 1980 and 2005. While there are terrorists who are Muslim, the vast majority do not deserve the accusations they are receiving.

I also disagree with your belief that religions can be judged based on historical actions. If I were to claim someone is incontinent because as an infant they required diapers, the claim would rightfully be dismissed. If I accused someone of being a liar based on a single lie told years previously, I am exaggerating their fault. If I claim someone is a bad parent because they forgot that it was their turn to pick their child up from school once, no one would pay attention. So why is religion blamed for actions taken years, if not centuries ago, by different people of a different culture in a different environment? If your great grandfather committed a crime, are you guilty by association? Religion should not be the only place where groups are judged for actions that were committed by people before they were conceived.

While I agree that there are societal problems that are being largely driven by religion, as well as global conflicts, there is at least some examples of scapegoating. By creating fear of an entire group, the media has driven the public to distrust all Muslims, regardless of their innocence.

4 years, 2 months ago

I would agree that there are over reaches in criticism and scope of implication, however, the critique of religion is certainly valid. I agree that the kkk doesn't speak for all Christians, however it does speak to the text that is universally accept in that faith. You may then extend that criticism to anyone who is a fundamentalist on that portion. You may also criticize an institution which has a fundamental understand of that portion.

So we can get criticise a religion only when the majority of that populous believes fundamentalist interpretations of texts which we have deemed immoral and perhaps evil. With that however, you can say that Christianity was barbaric during the crusades, inquisition, etc... That can only be a historical criticism because the more modern Christianity isn't so fundamentalist in their interpretations of the texts and thus the criticism doesn't apply. Same goes for Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc... Modern interpretations of the texts still maintain some fundamentalist interpretations of certain sections and thus you can criticize religions, or at least sects, based on them.

I agree that taking modern Christianity and thinking it equivocal to inquisition Christianity is absurd. However, it's not scapegoating, it's simply too broad an accusation to make. Scapegoating would imply that Christianity was really never to blame for the inquisition, etc.... So we're not scapegoating religion, the resolution for this debate would look something like this: we scapegoat modern religions when we apply certain arguments of misconduct of the past to the present interpretations of those religions if and only if they no longer hold those believes.

So for me to agree with this debate you'd have to show me rampant criticism of religion which wasn't at least a valid criticism of a particular religion at some time in its past. Unless you can convince me of why I should accept anything less or other than of course.

4 years, 2 months ago

That is certainly true. Even when people are using religion to justify terrible actions though, many times the religion is not to blame. The KKK claims to speak for Christians, but I know of no Christians who support their message. ISIS claims to represent Islam, but I have yet to meet any Muslims who support their actions. In both cases I know they have to exist, but the religion does not teach what it has been twisted into.

4 years, 2 months ago

but sometimes people also use religion as justification on their action

4 years, 2 months ago

I took the topic to mean that people blame all or most of societies ills on religion. While there are definitely things that religions have done that are detrimental (wars, prejudices, divisiveness) they are hardly the only causes of strife.

4 years, 2 months ago

A scapegoat for what?

4 years, 2 months ago
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